“Legion” was a Roman Army regiment consisting of about 6,000 soldiers. In the New Testament, the word was never used in its military sense, but rather to symbolize an extraordinarily large number.
So what does this have to do with anything?! Luke 8:26-39 records Jesus’s encounter with a demon-possessed man. What amazes me about this is how absolutely certain demons are that Jesus is the “Son, of the Most High God” (v. 28b NLT). I mean, as soon as the man saw Jesus, “he shrieked and fell down in front of Him” (v. 28a), not in worship, but in assent to Jesus’s authority. Demons know their final destination. “Legion” repeatedly begged “Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit” (v. 32). As such, Jesus gave “Legion” permission to enter a herd of pigs, where they “plunged down the steep hillside into lake and drowned” (32b-33). How often do we have a holy awe (fear) of Jesus’s Supremacy and Authority that we fall down in worship, praise, thanksgiving?
What also amazes me about this passage are the different reactions/responses to Jesus’s casting out “Legion.” The herdsmen who saw what happened ran into the town and countryside to spread the news (v. 34). They were excited to share what they had witnessed. When the townspeople arrived seeing the formerly demon-possessed man sitting at Jesus’s feet fully clothed and sane, they were full of fear and asked Jesus, “to go away and leave them alone” (v. 35-37a). When does fear cause us to tell Jesus to “go away” or “leave”? Jesus is a gentlemen, when He is asked to leave, He will.
The man who had been freed from demons begged to go with Jesus. In essence he was asking Jesus if he could be his disciple (v. 38a). This man was ready and willing to leave everything and follow Jesus, yet Jesus sent him home. Jesus did not reject this man from being his disciple, he refocused him to be his disciple in his hometown by “proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him” (v. 39). The man obviously did not feel rejected, dismayed or disappointed because He obeyed Jesus.
How often do we let fear or disappointment keep us from following Jesus because our plans did/may not come to fruition? How often do we let fear hinder our proclamation of what Jesus has done in our lives? The most effective witness is the one who proclaims what God has done in their life! Is it possible that we respond more often like the townspeople rather than like the herdsmen or formerly demon-possessed man?
May we not let our “legion” of fears keep us from embracing Christ! May we confess our fears to God and trusted friends so that we may live in freedom rather than bondage.
Father God, as You have given Jesus Supremacy and Authority over nature (Luke 8:22-25), demons (8:26-39) and death (8:40-56), so to do You have Supremacy and Authority over our lives . Lord, You are greater than ALL our fears! Lord, may we not fear You. May we not fear the call that You have on our lives. May we not fear to proclaim what You have done in our lives. Lord, may we meditate (mutter/murmur) on Your goodness more than we meditate on our fears. May we submit to Your Authority Lord, even when it is scary. Thank You Father for Your Word. May we be as excited to share Your news as the herdsmen. May we reject attitudes and responses that resemble the townspeople and may we be willing to follow You no matter what the cost. Lord, for those who do not know You, I ask that You soften their hearts today. Lord, I ask that today be the day where they acknowledge their need for You. Lord, may this dear reader allow You to set them free from their “legion” of fears. May I allow You to free me from mine. Lord, fear is never something that is easy to discuss, may You fill this reader with courage and the peace of Your Presence. Thank You, Father, for every answered prayer, Amen.