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A Man in the Tombs (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
April 25, 2022 4:00 am

A Man in the Tombs (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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April 25, 2022 4:00 am

How would you respond if you ran into an angry, violent, homeless man? It would probably look different from the way Jesus responded! Join us on Truth For Life as Alistair Begg investigates a dramatic encounter between Jesus and a demon-possessed man.


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You know what your response would be granted to a homeless person who was angry, violent, I'm sure it would look a lot different from the way Jesus responded today on Truth for Life. Alister bag investigates a dramatic encounter between Jesus and a homeless man who was possessed by a demon. I invite you turn this morning to Luke's gospel and to chapter 8 and verse 26 Luke chapter 8 and verse 26 then they sailed to the country of the Garrett scene switches opposite Galilee when Jesus 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 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 for he commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.

For many of 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 demons into the desert Jesus and asked him what is your name and he said Legion for many demons had entered him and he begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large parent of pigs was feeding there on the hillside and they begged him to let them enter these so I gave him permission than the demons came out of the man and enter the pigs and the hairbrush down the steep bank into the lake and drown when the herdsman saw what happened.

They fled and told it in the city and in the country and people went out to see what 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, and those who had seen it told them how the demon possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the garrisons asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned the man from whom the demons had gone back that he might be with him. But Jesus sent them away saying return to your home. Declare how much God has done for you, and he went away proclaiming throughout the whole city.

How much Jesus had done for him. Amen father once again we turn to the Bible and we ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to illumine the printed page to ask and to help us to think properly, to receive gladly the truth of your word. We pray that as a result of this we might be increasingly conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen. It's worthwhile. I think reminding ourselves this morning that the Bible is a book about Jesus that we go wrong when we attend church and always ask about the sermon. I wonder where I am in this sermon. The real question is, I wonder where Jesus is in the sermon because if the Bible is a book about Jesus than Jesus ought to be appearing all over the place and all the time and when we consider these encounters. It's not so much the challenge to see the point of identification necessarily with the individual that is meeting Jesus as it is to be reminded by the gospel writers of the power of Jesus in so many different circumstances thereby encouraging us to expect that Jesus will do these things in the transforming power of the Spirit in the lives in our lives and in the lives of others to we began where Jesus meets a man in a bad then I Jesus meets a man in the night and then Jesus yesterday meets a woman at the well and this morning, Jesus meets a man in the tombs may seem particularly this morning at first reading of the story of an unhinged dweller is about as far removed from our life and our circumstances is any particular story in the Bible, and yet I think further consideration will allow us to see that each of us is more in common with the central character than we're probably prepared to admit sorry pattern will be just as before work will try and look into the Bible and see what's there and learn as we go along. First of all, it's important for us to recognize that Luke is telling us of the location of Jesus here purposefully. When you have these little notes.

They sailed to the country of the garrisons which is opposite Galilee. They're not without significance.

We don't want to attach more significance to them than there it needs to be, but we don't want to miss the point. Either and in this case. This is more than simply a geographical note because it represents Jesus first foray into Gentile country.

Jesus is the one who has come in order that men and women from every tribe and nation people in language that will be gathered into the vast company that is represented in Revelation 7 and so he now as a Jew enters into this Gentile region enters into a region which, for the Jew was an unclean environment. Not only was the general environment unclean, but for him to go specifically into the tomb among the demons and among the pigs just defines the nature of the uncleanness that was there.

Luke is actually about to show us how the lesson of the parable, which is also in chapter 8. Here, if your Bible is open, you can look up to. Where is it around verse five or so and when the great crowd had gathered in the people from the town.

Jesus told him, the parable is sort went to store his seat and that Luke is now showing the way in which the parable of the store is going to be worked out in the Gentile world. It's a different location but it's the same good news I were going to discover that the townsfolk are like a seed that is on the path and surprisingly, most unlikely fellow is the good soil. You need to reread the parable and refresh the minds of that and it will make sense to you.

So that's the location.

What then of the man. What about the condition of this man, but were told that for a long time.

He was naked. He had no clothes. He hadn't lived in a house he had been living among the tombs naked, homeless, living in the local cemetery. The kind of individual who would be the joke of schoolboys that strange scary feeling when you ran past the Sammons rate you said to one another. Don't shout he may come out and get us the same schoolboys who would be told by their parents. When you come home make a wide berth around the cemetery. We don't want naked Norman coming and getting a hold of you about a man would be regarded as a public nuisance, public nuisance, extraordinarily was uncontrollable.

They had obviously made attempts to harness him to chain him to shackle him, and without any kind of long-term success is really a tragic picture he is cross the boundaries of human decency. He has essentially lost any claim to status is not an unusual character in 21st-century America. Actually someone some years ago, our roads are what they call the boy, am I don't know how it qualifies as poetry, but it went like this. Do you have any identification diners card access American Express bank statement driving license that I'm sorry sir, you do not exist, I would be the condition of this individual or nothing at all is the naked homeless man crying out in the night he had been reduced essentially to the level of a wild animal.

He was marginalized. He was demonized and his life was hopeless.

If you'd seen them in the New York subway you would've definitely tried to change her seat. Here is something that we need to pay careful attention to. He is essentially a tragic picture of what the Bible tells us, is the human condition apart from God is where a man or woman will eventually end up unrestrained and in order to reinforce data so that we don't miss this, let me turn you just are two passages in the epistles which will help us understand first of all, in Ephesians chapter 2 and then in Colossians and also and then in chapter 1. Turn to Ephesians 2 so that you might see again that what I'm telling you is actually there in the Scriptures. Of course, you've already decided. You can trust me then you will be following along.

This is Ephesians 2 after the glorious beginning of chapter 1 in terms of the amazing initiative taking love of God, the reminder that the effusions of also been included in Christ when they hear the gospel of their salvation when they believed that in chapter 2 in order to amplify the magnificence of grace reminds these Ephesians of what their lives were without Christ, when they were without God, and you were dead.

He says in in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. You can read on for yourselves later on. Now we need to be clear, we are not all possessed by demons but by nature. We are all under the power of dark forces. We are all under the power of evil. That is why we have no need to teach our children to lie. There is no course that you need to send your children to to learn how to cheat or to steal their only doing what comes naturally. Colossians chapter 1, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and chapter 1 in verse 21 and you, who were once alienated and hostile in mind doing evil deeds, he has no reconcile you who were once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds.

Who are these people, you and me start a very palatable notion is it is certainly reacted against. But it really makes sense doesn't it on the extent of God's mercy we want to reinforce what we said yesterday morning that there is no area of our lives that is left intact by sin.

Sin affects our emotions. It affects our wills it affects our minds and there is an anti-God bias within each of us that is entered at the level of our understanding and of the level of our will so that even human presuppositions and human thought processes are ultimately hostile to God. If you understand this if you if we understand what the Bible is saying here then it helps us to reckon with those who are so diametrically opposed to what we have come to understand as a result of God's grace and goodness when we find ourselves saying how is it that anyone can ever say X how is it that anyone can ever believe why we say that all the time during which the answer is here in Colossians chapter 1, the answer is here in Ephesians chapter 2, because apart from the amazing grace of God we will hold those same presuppositions. We would attach more significance to things that are insignificant then discover significance in the things of God. And so when we think in terms of hostility towards God, then the demonic guy mention of it is expressed in this man is simply farther indication on he is enslaved, and of course we to our enslaved the nature of the spiritual world that is going on all around us is absolutely real. Otherwise, what Paul is saying ready talks about our wrestling, not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places really doesn't mean anything at all doesn't know the reality of the power of God at work, spiritually, the reality of the activities of the evil one at work spiritually are biblical truths and have to be reckoned with. So the location is in the Gentile context of the Guerra's ins. The condition of the man is that he is alienated is alienated from God. He's alienated from others, and he's alienated from himself.

If you if you if you think about the doctrine of reconciliation where Paul says you know I would beseech you on Christ's behalf be reconciled to God, receive the reconciliation with God is provided for you in the gospel who needs to be reconciled. Only those who are alienated and alienation was a certainly a great theme of the 60s and 70s in contemporary writing it.

It runs as a vein.

I think through much of Paul Simon's stuff Simon. I regard as the best writers of lyrics and in my in my lifetime, and when and when you when you listen again to some of these old songs you realize that they're expressing that deep-seated sense of angst for which he has no peculiar explanation.

Whether it is in the sounds of silence in the great crowd of people 10,000 may be more no talking when I'm speaking and hearing without listening or when he rides on the bus and he says Kathy I'm lost. He said though I knew she was sleeping and empty and aching and I don't know why counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike. It all comes a look for America laughing on the bus playing games with the faces. She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy. I said be careful. His bowtie is really a camera extensive who have minor and where are my up a narrow flight of stairs to a narrow little room as I lie upon my bed in the early evening gloom and impaled upon my wall. My eyes can dimly see the riddle of my life in the puzzle that is me. It was a most peculiar man. That's what Mrs. Reardon said she should know know it runs all the way through. You see the signs of the prophets are written on the subway walls and whispered in the sounds of silence they really are. If you listen carefully you will hear in the sounds of silence, the great cries of the demons the great cries of lostness. The great cries of emptiness and our response to them is not to show we quiets what is to say, do you know that there is a reconciliation that is being provided in the person of Christ in the amazing nature of his death person that's you see what is going to be the key that unlocks the alienation of this man's mind is what Jesus is about to do. When finally all of hell is unleashed against them, and every dark and demonic force is poured out upon them.

As if that would be the end of rather than as it proves to be the triumph of his might. So the confrontation is as recorded for us. I just distracted myself in a little bit. I'm sorry about outside either non-bank and back on track.

Know what you have here is a combination I think of attraction and of and of fearfulness on the part of the man Jesus were told has commanded the evil spirits come out of the man in the response you see down there in verse 28 makes clear that the forces of evil knew the answer to the question. The disciples had been asking in verse 25 says is that I like little things like this. I hope you do to deliver verse 25 Jesus calmed the sea. He is come through the storm in order that he can meet this man in the tombs there is a great calm. They were afraid response of his followers to a dramatic display of his power was fearfulness and they said to one another, who then is this, that he commands even Winston water that they obey him. So what they don't know all the demons understand we know who you are is a reminder of what James goes on to write in James do what he says.

Even the demons believe and the shutter so you have this direct confrontation. Don't send as they say please don't send us down into the abyss, but this is a reference simply to the abode of the dead. The demon world is aware of the fact that one day in the judgment, their freedom is gone and their doom is sealed. No question about that and they understand that realizing that they are, then that is the demons face-to-face with the judge. They are obviously afraid that he may choose now to cast them down into the abyss. The man's personality is been so destabilized by the demons that they have usurped the place of the self and the speak through him again.

What a tragic picture of this man hopelessness absolutely unable to fix himself or to be fixed by anyone else. Apart from the intervention of he who is the Lord of all the nations well in response to their request. We have their destruction of the pigs and its inside story that obviously gets everybody completely turned out in home Bible study groups and then the demons came out of the man and enter the pigs and the herd rushed on the steep bank into the lake and the drowned, how how strange is this well.

It is quite strange. It's particularly hard for all of pig lovers and I sent some of you some of you have your own private personal pigs are supposed are are completely unsettled by this, but if you if you just if you just hold your fire, I think your be okay. Calvin actually suggests it is commenting that the demons purpose may have been to excite the inhabitants of the country to curse God, on account of the loss of the pigs.

In other words, just to make a confrontation even greater and when we read a little section like this, as we do now. We have to be content to treat the accountant at the level it's offered and not try to address questions or answer questions that it doesn't address this is the great serenity again of those who enduring home Bible studies lose control of the thing at a section like this and somebody asked the question how can animals be possessed in the whole Bible study goes completely out the window at that point to any notion of the transforming power of Jesus setting somebody free has gone completely south now because were discussing the nature of the demon possession of animals and summonses while I you know we had a German Shepherd that I think was the demon possessed. You might as well just close the Bible and and say I will try again next Wednesday but for now, so German shepherds aside, it's good to know that Jesus is indeed all-powerful. He's able to confront and command even a legion of demons listing the Truth for Life with Alastair Bragg. We are in a series titled an extraordinary encounter were learning about some of the people who met Jesus, and to supplement the study. We want to recommend to you a book called saints and scoundrels in the story of Jesus. Just like the title suggests, this is a book that takes a close-up look at a number of people in the Gospels, some of whom became saints.

Some who are forever known as scoundrels.

The author of the book is Nancy Guthrie and she helps us look beyond the human frailties of key gospel figures people like Peter even the Pharisees or Judas so that we can better understand them. In fact, this is a fascinating book because she challenges us to see ourselves in some of their weaknesses, you can ask for your copy of the book when you donate online at by the way, if you're looking for a topic for the next study group.

You can buy extra copies of saints and scoundrels at cost and the online store. The book includes a full set of discussion questions for each chapter. Additional copies can be your prayers and your support for Truth for Life or what bring this program to a worldwide audience.

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