Luke 8:26-39—The Demon-possessed Man.
This story in Luke is also told in Matthew 8:28-34 and Mark 5:1-20. Depending on which English translation of the New Testament that is being read, the country of Gadarenes may be spelled as Girgesenes or Gerasenes as well. Most biblical scholars believe this event in Scripture may have actually taken place in Gergesa which is modern day Kersa by the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee because the scripture reports that immediately before the event with the demonic, Jesus had proved that he had control over nature to the Disciples by calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee (Luke 8:22-25) while they were sailing to arrive at the country of Gadarenes. This area was predominately a Gentile area within the Roman Empire.
This scripture is interesting because one would think that a person who was possessed by so many demons would run from Jesus Christ, God incarnate, the final Judge who could condemn them. Instead, this man goes to meet Jesus and cries out and fall down before Jesus saying in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beseech you, do not torment me……”. This declaration by the demon-possessed the man is very revealing. The demons not only know of God, but are afraid because they also know God has dominion over them and can destroy them in any way He sees fit. So, this event in the New Testament reveals what the Old Testament has always taught. God permits evil to exist (Job 1:6-12). Evil recognizes God and the fact that the demons in this man made the man fall down before Jesus in this scripture while pleading for mercy is a form of worshiping Almighty God – accepting God’s Will – His dominion over them and all there is. St. John Chrysostom teaches that in Job 1:6, the devil came with the angels before God which means that the devil is dependent upon God as well. St. John Chrysostom also said that in the scripture of Luke 8:32, 33, Jesus converses with the evil spirits and even granted their request to be sent into a great heard of swine. Why?
A big question in many people minds is “why?” The Fathers of the Church have always taught that the Kingdom of God, the Glory of the Lord, is revealed in tribulation. St. John Chrysostom said that “tribulation makes the strong man stronger in the Lord” and this is clearly revealed in the Old Testament Book of Job by Job’s perseverance to stay faithful to the Lord despite all the tribulation that fell upon him and his family. At the end of the scripture reading in Luke 8:26-39, the demon-possessed man is completely restored to wholesomeness and fully clothed while sitting at the Lord’s feet — revealing the important scriptural lesson to mankind that through all hardship, those who are righteous are called to glory in the face of tribulations (Roman 5:3) and are clothed in the “whole armor of God” (Eph 6:13).
References: The Gospel of Luke, Good News for the Poor, Lawrence R. Farley, Conciliar Press; The New Testament, Luke and Acts, Paul Nadim Tarazi; Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Luke, InterVarsity Press; KJV.