Friday, April 15, 2016

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday April 17, 2016

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(JESUS has power over darkness)
(Luke 8:26-38)

   In Luke chapter 8, verses 26-38, we see Luke’s account of the story of a man, who was possessed by a group of demons calling themselves “Legion”. Here we see a rather bizarre thing occurring, and in order for us to understand this story, we must do our best to read between the lines. Like in many Biblical stories, the author may speak in terms that are difficult for the modern-day reader to comprehend, and here Luke’s account is no different. Here he speaks in terms that are familiar to the people of those times, but may seem very strange to us in this generation.
 After JESUS had showed HIS mastery over nature by calming the storm that surrounded HIMSELF and HIS crew of disciples as they were crossing over the Sea of Galilee, they headed for the land of the Gerasenes, or, Gadarenes, as they were also called. The Gadarenes inhabited a city called Gadara, which was the capital of the Roman province of Perea. It was located on the east side of the Jordan River, about ten miles from the Sea of Galilee, and opposite Tiberias.
When they had landed, we see that, just as JESUS is climbing out of the boat, a man possessed with many demons runs up to HIM and falls to his knees before HIM. Here we see that the demons inside the man recognized just WHO JESUS was, and after JESUS had commanded them to come out, they cried out in fear, saying, “Why are YOU bothering us JESUS, SON of the Most, High GOD? Please, I beg YOU, don’t torture us!”
    The demon’s name in this instance, which is “Legion”, gives us a clue as to how many demons may have been present inside the man. “Legion”, by definition, was “a Roman regiment consisting of 6000 troops”. We also see in this passage that, subsequently, JESUS cast the demons out of the man, into a herd of two thousand swine, causing them to run down a steep embankment, fall into the sea, and drown. One can only imagine that there must have been quite a storm going on inside of this demon-possessed man.
    Here we see JESUS, once again, showing us HIS mastery over satan and his demons. Here the demon-possessed man, recognizing the presence of JESUS, and having the storm inside of him being made calm by our LORD and SAVIOR, with the subsequent release of those demons from his body at the very command of HIS voice.
    The lesson to be learned here from this story and the previous story of JESUS’ calming of the storm at sea, is that, it doesn’t really matter if we are in the storm, like the disciples were in verses 22-25 of this chapter, or, the storms of sorrows, problems, and anxiety are in us, like this demon-possessed man in this second story, to recognize GOD as the object of our faith, is the key to gaining “peace of mind” and “soundness of mind” in our lives.
    Another thing that we can take away from these passages is that, it doesn’t really matter so much what JESUS did to bring soundness of mind to the demon-possessed man here in this passage. Nor does it matter what HE did on that night, when HE spoke to the sea, “Peace be still”, and the winds too, did obey. And nor, does it even matter what JESUS did one morning on a different occasion in far-off Palestine, when HE walked on water, to encourage Peter and those same disciples to put away their fears and anxieties (Mark 6:45-52).
    What we really need to understand here is that, these miracles represent to us, a sign, and a symbol of what GOD always does for those who have faith, and believe in HIM. And they say in effect, that, when we are in danger of being overwhelmed by the “storms of life”, GOD, will keep in perfect peace, the mind that stays on HIM, because it trusts HIM. Amen.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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