A DEMON POSSED MAN, A CASTRATED BOY, A WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTRY - NO WOUND TOO GREAT TO HEAL!

I love reading the various search questions that get people to my blog.  Someone recently searched the following: "an example of a new convert in the Bible."  Whoever you are, thanks for asking this question.  One of the most evocative examples from scripture of a salvation experience, which is the same today as it ever was except for the story that gets us there, is the Eunuch, a court official in the realm of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia.  Read Acts 8: 26-40.  This Eunuch is now a mature man, but he would have been taken in battle or sold into slavery at some time in his youth.  While still a young boy he was castrated; a brutal and barbarian practice of the time which many slaves did not survive.  Never escaping his history and the angst of this profound suffering and lingering grief, the Eunuch is drawn to the Old Testament description of Jesus' death on the cross which was predicted in the Old Testament long before it actually happened.  The historical novel, The Persian Boy by Mary Renault, describes in detail this horrific torture in the life of the main protagonist. 

Understanding what the Eunuch would have suffered we can understand why he is drawn to these words in Isaiah.  Here is a startling and powerful word picture to which he fully identifies. This man will never have children.  Nor can he live the life that such an evil practice stole away. Still, by divine intervention the Holy Spirit brought this passage in Isaiah to his attention.  With the help of an angel this divine, supernatural, miraculous appointment took place between two unlikely men whose paths should never have crossed.  The Eunuch, this court official met the Apostle Philip.       

Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"  And he said, "Well how could I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.  Now the passage of scripture which he was reading was this:
"He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he does not open His mouth. In humiliation His judgment was taken away; who will relate His generation?  For His life is removed from the earth." 
A messenger angel, sent from Father God, directs Phillip to share the gospel with this powerful court official and the little that is told speaks so much about this man's life and the healing that is needed and provided through faith in Jesus Christ.  At the end of the story the Eunuch prays to receive Christ and is baptized.  He says to Philip, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."  This man is now reborn as a new person.  There has been a radical, supernatural heart change that has shifted and altered his conception of the world he lives in and his purpose for being just where he is.  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2nd Corinthians 5: 17).  There has been an immediate healing, but now the deeper healing will be the life-process that draws this once broken man into continual and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 

However, the story I often think of, the one that first flashed to mind when I read this search question is one of the most dramatic in scripture.  This is the story of the man possessed by legions of demons.  We are told that Jesus crosses the sea to reach this man.  Jesus has heard the cry and through the dramatic and marvelous outcome He demonstrates to his disciples and to us how an exorcism is performed.  This example is also a significant healing example of Jesus' love for those that are lost and even thought hopeless.  
It is also an example of God's immense compassion for the lost.  That even before we can utter the cry for help He hears us.  And Isaiah is very bold and says, "I was found by those who did not seek Me, and I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me (Romans 10: 20).  So perhaps you have not been crying out to Jesus Christ, but you are in fear and turmoil.  You are hurting and there are wounds that take you back in your mind.  You repeatedly revisit this pain which is the trigger that sends the destructive scripts, (self-talk) that leaves you stuck and helpless and looking in all the wrong ways for releif.  The need of your heart is poignant and raw.  You need an answer; you need a Savior and in these circumstances Jesus has provided the way out; a way to understand your need for Him.  And in this way freedom from sin is accomplished via a divine and powerful expression of forgiveness unlike any counterfeit previously relied upon.  For there is only one that can truly offer eternal life and that is Jesus Christ. 
...for, "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).

The story begins in Luke chapter eight.  Jesus and some of his disciples were caught on the sea of Galilee in a terrible storm; "a fierce gale of wind."  Taking this little trip was Jesus' idea.  He had a plan and a foreknowledge of what would take place.  Someone on the other side of the sea needed Him and had been crying out and it was time for Jesus to show up.  Jesus knew where he was going and why, but he also needed to shatter the bias and build the faith of those that were going with him.  "Let us go over to the other side of the lake," so they launched out (Luke 8: 22b). 

Jesus fell asleep in the boat.  He had perfect peace; perfect faith.  When the fierce gale of winds and high waves threatened to swamp and sink the boat those common scripts of fear took over among his followers.  The disciples came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!"  And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves; and they stopped, and it became calm.  And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" (Luke 8: 24, 25a). 

Those who practice intercessory prayer, deliverance, and exorcism expect to encounter opposition.  A flat tire, a distracting non emergency that masquerades as such or... as happened just now my computer screen going blank; a transitory non-problem.  In faith we pray against such opposition. 

In the wake of this terrible storm Jesus and some of his disciples continued the trip; arriving in the country of the Gerasenes; which is opposite Galilee.  As they disembarked upon the shore they were met by a man who was demon possessed.  And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs (Luke 8: 27). 

The demons spoke through the man and confronted Jesus.  What we notice is that they immediately recognize Jesus as the Son of God.  They cannot lie to Jesus and they cannot lie about Jesus because in another realm the war has already been won.  
Seeing Jesus he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I beg You, do not torment me.  For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.  For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.  And Jesus asked him, "What is Your name?"  And he said, "Legion," for many demons had entered him .  They were imploring Him not to command them to go into the abyss (Luke 8: 28-31).  

Jesus has arrived on the scene because this man's plight, his utter lost-ness in the context of a terrible demonic assault upon his soul; his very human-ness had come to God's attention.  The person he was, was fighting for the God-given autonomy to choose life over death.  

Jesus knew the names of the demons.  They confessed who Jesus, was acknowledging His authority as the Son of God.  They also had an awareness of Father-God's predetermined timetable which they articulated in a clever plea, trading upon this knowledge. 
And they cried out, saying, "What business do we have with each other, Son of God?  Have you come here to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8: 29)  In the same way, demons and evil spirits today, know that time is short. 

Another bit of knowledge revealed to us from these passages in both Luke and Matthew, who recorded the same event, is this.  Jesus allowed the demons to reveal where, by Jesus' authority demons would likely end up after such a clash in the context of exorcism.  And they were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss (Luke 8: 31). 
Into the abyss from where there is no escape or return. Today this same authority is among the gifts, tools, and weapons God has given us as children of the Most High God, confirming Jesus' promise that after He left planet earth for Heaven, to be seated at the right hand of God the Father in all victory, He would not abandon those left on earth... as orphans.  Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father (John 14: 12).  We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1st John 5: 19). 
   
And because we "know the rest of the story," we additionally pray that all demonic back ups and replacements be  equally destroyed. Jesus did not actually need to ask the names of the demons.   He knows everything.  But Jesus was providing an object lesson.  He was demonstrating to his followers, among them Luke and Matthew, and then down through the ages to us as preserved in His holy word, the key elements of how an exorcism is to be performed.  So that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2: 10, 11). 

At the end there was a wonderful conversion told with very few words but enormously rich in the image evoked of a radical transformation.  The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind and they became frightened (Luke 8: 35).  

Does that thrill you as it does me?  I can see this man sitting at Jesus feet, his head resting against His Saviors' thigh, content to be basking in the love and grace of such trans-formative healing.  

As with all true conversions the man was then ready to follow Jesus.  He wanted to share what he'd been given.  But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away saying, "Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you."  This man, the least of all, by virtue of his rescue was to be a powerful witness and missionary; a testament to the power of Jesus Christ. I'm looking forward to meeting him in Heaven.  Jesus said: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10: 10). 
Another example is the woman who was about to be stoned for adultery at a time when the Pharisees hoped to catch Jesus in such a way that he too could be condemned.  Jesus sees this woman; her heart and her regret.  He reaches out to her, knowing everything about her and loving her none-the-less.  Jesus intervenes in her circumstances to convict those that were trying to destroy her.  His healing love touched and changed her, opening the door for a fresh start.  And demonstrating that these fresh starts, new life is what He offers and what we need.  Psalm 103 says that when we confess our sins God removes our sins as far as the east is from the west and that is just what Jesus' love did for this woman.  Even at the point of death, in Jesus all things can become new. It is never too late.  NEVER.  Read John 8: 1-11.  And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either.  Go.  From now on sin no more (John 8: 11b).   

Another conversion.  At the point of death, in the very last moments of life, Jesus said to the one thief that acknowledged who He was, as side by side they hung upon the tortured Roman crosses, these powerful  and significant words.  Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in paradise (Luke 23: 43)  Read the full story Luke 23: 39-43. 

The apostle Paul is another example of a transformed human being whose life was radically altered in a supernatural Jesus-encounter.  In writing about his experience Paul quotes Jesus... a description of what happens when each of us is saved and where we then take our first steps as children of the Most High.  " ...to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me."  Acts 26: 18. 

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1: 13).

And how do we obtain this salvation?  Scripture is very clear that... Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10: 13).  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3: 16). 

...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10: 9, 10). 
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free form the law of sin and of death (Romans 8: 1, 2). 

You can pray right now and ask Jesus for this new life.  Confess your sin and tell Him you need him.  He'll be found. 

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