Jesus heals the Gadarene Demoniac

The Gospel lesson for today is Luke 8:26-39.

The best tactic the devil ever used was to convince people that he doesn’t exist.

Some one once told me that in Africa you can come and preach the Gospel and no one minds.  You can come and do mercy work and no one minds.  Governments and tribes and all sorts of folks will help.  When you do both — preach the Gospel and do mercy there is bound to be trouble.  When I asked why I was told “because the devil hates it and it drives him crazy”.

The devil and the demonic are far more palpable and recognized in emerging world countries and there are reasons for that.  They haven’t studied them out of existence in their rational minds so that they come out in other places like we have.  So called rational people say they don’t exist and fall prey to them in unexpected places, like politics and medicine and philosophy.  We rationalized away din and damnation to and they pop up in unexpected places like classrooms and marathon races.

The Bible says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.  If you rationalize the devil away you don’t need a Savior.  We studied ourselves out of life a German poet once wrote.  Hermann Sasse picked up in that.  He wrote,

Truly, it is a frightening revolution in the spiritual life of the west that has been accomplished here, frightening in that on the one hand the progress of modern culture rests on it, and on the other hand that it must go with it. It is frightening that the European man of the last 250 years is convinced that he has been the first to recognize the reality of the world and of man, when he has forsaken the great reality of life. He believes that the God of the Bible, as the judge of the entire world, that the wrath of God, the last Judgment, and that eternal damnation is a figment of the imagination. He comes as the man who actually cleaned up these fantasies. He does not notice that he actually exchanged living reality for a paper theory. He thinks the great realities of life, the living God, the sin of man, and the divine judgment are mere theories. And he thinks his theories, his made-up god that does not create or judge, and what is more, his idea of a man who is no longer a sinner and does not need grace is reality. Goethe anticipated this strange event, the exchange of life’s realities for theories about life, and he pointed to it with the penetrating word: “We have studied ourselves out of life.” That is the deep, intellectual, spiritual distress of the modern world. They have exchanged the great reality to which the Biblical revelation points for paper theories. In reality, the men of our time, so proud of their sense of reality, live in an illusion.”

The demonic is not an illusion, but it is a defeated foe.