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Wonder at God's greatness

March 18, 2022

Daily Scripture

Luke 8:16-39

During Lent, we are using short videos to share a daily idea (linked to the gospel of Luke) on how to grow spiritually. Watch today’s video. Click here or on the image below:


Note: We are reading the entire gospel of Luke in the GPS. Some day’s readings are longer than usual. We hope you’ll have an extra cup of coffee, or use your lunch break, and read Luke’s entire story of Jesus.

16 “No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand so that those who enter can see the light. 17 Nothing is hidden that won’t be exposed. Nor is anything concealed that won’t be made known and brought to the light. 18 Therefore, listen carefully. Those who have will receive more, but as for those who don’t have, even what they seem to have will be taken away from them.”

19 Jesus’ mother and brothers came to him but were unable to reach him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”

21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who listen to God’s word and do it.”

22 One day Jesus and his disciples boarded a boat. He said to them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the lake.” So they set sail.

23 While they were sailing, he fell asleep. Gale-force winds swept down on the lake. The boat was filling up with water and they were in danger. 24 So they went and woke Jesus, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” But he got up and gave orders to the wind and the violent waves. The storm died down and it was calm.

25 He said to his disciples, “Where is your faith?”

Filled with awe and wonder, they said to each other, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him!”

26 Jesus and his disciples sailed to the Gerasenes’ land, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 As soon as Jesus got out of the boat, a certain man met him. The man was from the city and was possessed by demons. For a long time, he had lived among the tombs, naked and homeless. 28 When he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down before him. Then he shouted, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 He said this because Jesus had already commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had taken possession of him, so he would be bound with leg irons and chains and placed under guard. But he would break his restraints, and the demon would force him into the wilderness.

30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had entered him. 31 They pleaded with him not to order them to go back into the abyss [or underworld]. 32 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs. Jesus gave them permission, 33 and the demons left the man and entered the pigs. The herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned.

34 When those who tended the pigs saw what happened, they ran away and told the story in the city and in the countryside. 35 People came to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully dressed and completely sane. They were filled with awe. 36 Those people who had actually seen what had happened told them how the demon-possessed man had been delivered. 37 Then everyone gathered from the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave their area because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and returned across the lake. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged to come along with Jesus as one of his disciples. Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell the story of what God has done for you.” So he went throughout the city proclaiming what Jesus had done for him.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The Sea of Galilee sat in a geologic “bowl,” and was subject to sudden, severe storms. You can see the kind of boat Jesus was in, found in the Sea of Galilee ( Jesus calmed a storm and amazed his disciples. Yet he showed a different, even greater type of power as he calmed the inner demons tormenting a frightening, disturbing man.

  • The small wooden boats used in Jesus’ day, powered only by a sail or oars, must have seemed terribly inadequate in a violent storm. Do your human resources seem insufficient to deal with any “storms” you face? How can you open yourself to Jesus’ loving power, letting him give you peace as you face those storms?
  • The man Jesus met was clearly a danger to himself and others. Yet Jesus didn’t try to isolate or avoid him, but to help and restore. What may have looked hopeless at first led to a beautifully healing result. In Bible times, “mental illness” or the influence of evil beings were all called “demon possession.” How did Jesus’ focus on healing and helping lead to restoring the man’s life?

Click here to incorporate music and worship from the COR Worship Collective into your daily practice and devotion.


Lord Jesus, in this troubled world, storms come in so many different forms and intensities. I thank you that you’ve promised that I don’t ever have to face any of them on my own. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe & his wife, Doris, first met in a Resurrection Single Adult Sunday School class in 1997 & were married in what is now the Student Center. They are empty nesters with 2 college-aged sons, Matthew & Jacob. Darren serves as a Couples Small Group co-leader & Men's Group Leader, while volunteering in a variety of other capacities at Resurrection.

Today’s passage includes the challenging scene of Jesus, a demon possessed man, & a herd of pigs. (Though it sounds like a lead-in to a joke, no, they don’t walk into a bar.) We’ll reference Matthew, Mark, & Luke’s re-telling of the story as we take a look:

Jesus had spent the day teaching/preaching & was exhausted. At the end of the day, presumably to get a break from the crowds, He suggests to His Disciples that they travel to the other side of the lake. During this trip, Jesus amazes His Disciples by calming a violent storm. The Disciples are heard asking themselves, “Who is this Man?”

When they reach the Gentile community on the other shoreline (some scholars describe it as a ham-let), a man who is naked & says he is demon-possessed greets them. He calls himself “Legion,” suggesting he was possessed by a legion of demons. (A Roman Legion could have 5-6,000 troops, so our friend is struggling.) The man had become such a menace to the community that the civic leaders had tried to restrain the man with chains & shackles, but the man was too strong & had repeatedly broken free. He is consigned to wildly roaming around the burial caves, howling & cutting himself with sharp stones.

Aside: A friend was once addicted to bacon. But now he’s cured.

When confronted by Jesus, the demons recognize Jesus as Son of the Most High & beg not to be condemned to the Abyss, but plead that they be relegated to the nearby herd of pigs. Jesus agrees & the 2,000 pigs plunge into to the lake & drown.

Aside: Mark’s Gospel tells us it was 2,000 pigs. Though some scholars suggest Mark misheard the description. It was actually only 2 sows & ten pigs. (If you say it quickly, you’ll understand this feeble attempt at humor – Editor.)

The pig herders run into town to spread the news & a crowd soon gathers at the shoreline. They see our friend, dressed & sitting calmly at the feet of Jesus. Instead of being happy for our friend, the townsfolk are distracted by the supernatural events that had occurred & concerned about the economic loss of the herd. Out of fear, they beg Jesus to leave.

Aside: It always seems that there are 2 kinds of pig stories: Those that have a twist at the end of the tale & those that turn out to be a boar.

As Jesus gets back in the boat, our healed friend asks to go with Him. Jesus, though, wants him to go tell his family & friends how merciful God had been to him. Our friend would go preach in 10 different Greek cities, collectively known as the Decapolis.

Well. What might this unsettling story mean for us 2,000 years later?

  • The Disciples, who have been traveling with Jesus & had just seen Him calm a storm, still aren’t quite sure what to make of Him. On the other hand, the demons immediately recognize Jesus as The Christ, believe in Heaven/Hell, &, when they ask Jesus to consign them to the pigs, demonstrate they believe in the power of a prayerful petition. Let’s not let our own doubts fester; but rather seek to learn as much as we can, so we don’t miss out on the life-changing possibilities of the Christian walk.
  • Jesus shows great compassion for our friend who was suffering from some severe mental health issues, which were frequently described in Biblical times as “demon possession.” This act of love shows us that God unequivocally loves all of His children & that, in today’s times with our improved understanding of mental health, He would encourage anyone struggling with these challenges to seek help from qualified professionals.
  • It’s tempting to condemn the townspeople for their lack of perspective. They are more concerned with the economic loss of the herd of pigs, rather than rejoicing in the life of a man with a restored soul. Really? Yet, sometimes, we, too, can find ourselves so invested in preserving the normal that we lose all sense of proportion.
  • It IS odd that Jesus allows the demons to possess the pigs. Jesus could have dismissed the evil spirits with a simple word. Perhaps Jesus sensed that the man’s condition was so dire, the man would need some demonstrable proof that the demons had, indeed, left him. (This is similar to when Jesus makes an elaborate mud pack for the blind man in John 9:1-7, when the man could have been healed with a touch.) This shows the great lengths Jesus is willing to go to help with our disbelief.
  • Our healed friend becomes one of the 1st evangelists to the Gentile community. He must have been a powerful witness for Jesus. Putting aside the grand theological discussions, for my money, there is no greater proof of the power & reality of Jesus than comparing a person’s life pre-Christ vs. a life post-Christ.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get a refund for tickets I purchased for “Bacon-Fest.” Turns out, it’s just a festival featuring movies like Footloose, A Few Good Men, & other Kevin Bacon films.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.