If you refuse to identify and call it what it is then you are in danger from suffering its ravages.

Hesham Shehab: Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon

Sermon text preached by Rev. Hesham Shehab
Sunday, July 17, 2022
Holy Trinity Lutheran, Burbank, IL
Text: Luke 8:26-19, English Standard Version

Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon

26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes,[a] which is opposite Galilee. 27 When Jesus[b] had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” 29 For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. 32 Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.

34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 36 And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed[c] man had been healed. 37 Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

Grace mercy and peace to you from God, our father, Lord, and savior, Jesus Christ. Amen!

“Get away from me.” That’s what the demon said to Jesus, in essence, that’s what the Gerasenes said to Jesus too, and that is what anyone and everyone who is dead and their trespasses and sins says to the one, true God, “get away from me.”

Jesus has a conversation here with a Legion of demons. For the sake of simplicity, I will not go back and forth from singular and plural and just stay with the plural. In the land of the Gerasenes, which was basically on the east coast of the sea of Galilee. The Bible has real geography with real demographics, unlike other books of religion.

And they pleaded with him. What have you to do with me, Jesus son of the most high! I beg you do not torment me. Because he had commanded them to leave. They begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss was their request. Most probably they meant by abyss hell. They begged him instead to let them enter those pigs over on the hill.

So he gave them permission. These demons in this conversation and this interchange, you can hear the terror, even in the way the words are written in exchange. It seems that Jesus was calm and just speaking with them in a matter of fact, sort of way. Please, please they say, let us go into those pigs, not into the abyss. And he gave the demons his permission.

When the herdsmen saw what happened, they fled and told the city and the country. Then people came to see what had happened. And they came to Jesus and found a man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus and his right mind and well clothed. This is the point in the narrative that we kind of would expect a celebration.

He was lost and is found, this guy who used to run around naked amongst the tombs. He used to be a public menace. We would expect a celebration… but that’s not their response…their response was not joy and happiness. Their response is fear and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how the demon possessed man had been healed… and the pigs perished.

Jesus did not illegally destroy property…it was like destroying a field of poppy…hashish …Jews were not supposed to raise the unclean pigs. That was bad for their illegal business.

Then all the people at the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for, they were seized with great fear.

What does it mean that the demons went into the pigs, and the pigs went into the abyss?

It means that Satan has no authority anymore, because of Jesus, and you only empower Satan when you reject Jesus and lead a sinful life.

The Gerasenes rejected Jesus because He was bad for business. They were happy with their demons as long as they were doing business.

They are greedy like many businesses today, that they would prefer to make money out of people’s suffering than have people safe and secure. Jesus is a threat to our material culture.

Have you been to Las Vegas?…Sin City!…Even McDonald’s there with its M symbol is the head of a Cobra snake.

We live in a world today that really seems to have no fear of God. There seems to be a disdain for God and his truth in our society. Get away from me. None of that Bible talk, please!

Sin and evil exist even if we choose to ignore them.

If you refuse to identify and call it what it is then you are in danger from suffering its ravages. It does not matter how nicely you talk to a large hungry bear. If given the opportunity he will eat you. You don’t pet a rabid dog, you cage it and you treat it. Lord Chamberlain of England told the people of England that Hitler promised not to invade Poland. History tells a different story, in order to address evil and sin we must call it what it is. History almost repeats itself today in the Ukraine.

If a doctor says to you, you have a nasty rash, let’s treat it. Okay. You would not say how dare you speak so offensively to my skin! How dare you speak of rashes, you will make my skin feel bad and cause other people to attack my skin with your hate speech.

So, the doctor will say fine, you and your sensitive skin have a nice day. It’s not the doctor who will be itching and scratching later, but a doctor cannot prescribe the healing ointment without first diagnosing the rash.

We live in a society that is fascinated, I would say, even celebrates sin. Sin in some ways has become the new virtue in our society.

We live in a society where facts are ignored and the media and the elite are trying to convince us that it is all in the end will pan out for the common good. What does it matter if people are killed in the streets of Chicago every week, or people are driving a100 miles per hour, let us just defund the police and hire social workers and we will all eventually live happily ever after and sing Kumbaya together.

We have entertainment programs centered around zombies and gore and wonder why some young people go on a gory shooting spree.

One of the worst and disgusting things I saw on Facebook, a drag queen teaching young kids…in Sunday school at a church…yes at a church in Chicago.

And the media tells us not to go around forcing your values on others. You are just a hateful bigoted homophobe… the sanctity of human life and marriage and family are true Biblical values… it is worth speaking the truth in love to our neighbors about, but it comes at a cost. We must be loving and kind to those who hate and despise us.

That’s what we’re called to do. God and his word “thou shalt not murder” applies to all people, including the LGBTQ.

Our brother Devin posted recently an article saying that what they call the Pride Parade, came to Bridgeview, which was unthinkable before…Our neighbors, the Muslims, have a very tough stance against homosexuality. Islamic traditions teach that the punishment of homosexuals are to be thrown to die from the top of the tallest place in town.

But Jesus calls us to love our neighbor, not murder them. Speak the truth in love to our neighbor. Yes. Care for our neighbor care and pray for your enemy.

Scripture not only tells us not to murder our neighbors, and everyone in case you’re interested is your neighbor. It tells us to love and care for our neighbor every single one of them. Society pushes away from God and his truth. They want to be away from God and they got what they asked for… The result is pain and destruction …those are the fault of human sin, not the loving God and his followers. Murder held up as a virtue by a twisted belief system… And we pray and grieve with those who grieve in the massacres 21 in Texas and New York…but we do not hear in the media about the 55 Nigerian Christians who were killed in a church in Nigeria by Islamic terrorists…because it does not fit the media’s narrative.

As a young man, I liked Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” “I did it my waaay!”  But when I became a follower of Christ, I realized that doing it “my way,” would take me to the highway of hell and destruction. Doing it God’s way would take me to Heaven’s highway.

Back to our text, Jesus got into the boat. In return, the man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him. But Jesus sent him away saying:” return to your home and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away proclaiming throughout the whole city, how much Jesus had done for him.

Even though the world that we live in, pushes God away, we, as Christians trust God who made the whole world. We trust that the evil in this world that we can see cannot separate us from the love of God, and return to our homes and declare how much God has done for us, like the healed man in the text.

As Christians, we need to go your away today proclaiming throughout the whole city, how much Jesus has done for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hesham Shehab

Read more from Hesham Shehab… https://xpian.news/?s=hesham&submit=Search…H

Hesham Shehab
Hesham Shehab
Educator, Journalist, Columnist, Islamic Expert, Muslim Expert, Human Rights Activist, Pastor at Salam Christian Fellowship | Website

Adjunct Faculty at College of DuPage, Formerly Adjunct Faculty at American University of Beirut and Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church Lombard, IL Name pronounciation: HI-shahm SHI-hab  Hebrews 12: 4 & Philippians 1: 29

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