Lukeby Mike Raiter
While crossing the Lake of Galilee, Jesus and His disciples are caught in the grip of a frightening storm (vv. 22–25). Luke contrasts the panic and terror of the disciples with Jesus’ calm confidence as He sleeps. Jesus then stands up and speaks to the storm, and immediately it dies down. Psalm 107:28–29 reads: “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress; He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.” Jesus felt tired and slept because He was a man. Jesus ruled the winds and waves because He is God.
Jesus now enters Gentile territory and meets a man overwhelmed by demonic presence (vv. 26–37). A Roman legion contained over 5,000 men, and so by identifying himself as Legion, the man is giving us a terrifying picture of the extent of his demonic oppression.
The man spent his days naked and alone, roaming among the tombs. His life is a living death, and so how appropriate that his only companions are the rotting corpses in the graves. He is supernaturally strong; chains and ropes cannot bind him. One must never underestimate the evil power of demons (v. 29).
This story, though, isn’t really about demons, but about Jesus and His powerful word. Jesus may be outnumbered by Legion, but with one commanding word, He casts the demons out. One must never overestimate the power and authority of demons.
Satan’s hosts have only one purpose: to destroy. We see this illustrated when the demons that have been cast out immediately enter a herd of pigs and hurl them to their death (vv. 32–33). But if demons destroy, Jesus gives life. The final scene shows us the man at peace and free as he returns to society. He then becomes the first Gentile missionary Jesus sends out (vv. 35–39).
How astonishing that the people ask Jesus to leave (v. 37). Of course, this confusing response is what the apostles will face in their missionary work (Matthew 10:16–24; John 15:18–21). Everyone who brings the good news of life and peace in Jesus will meet a similar response from a world under the power of the evil one.
Verses 22–25 are a declaration of Jesus’ control over the world that He, by His word, created. What comfort should this truth bring to us today?
How can we fall into the twin traps of overestimating Satan’s power and underestimating Satan’s power?