July 21, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
The Savior at Gadara
“And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee” (Luke 8:26)
One of the next places that Luke brings us to in his travelogue is an area known as Gadara or Gergesenes, on the eastern edge of the Sea of Galilee. The only mention in Scripture of this city is in connection with the possessed man and Legion. It was the visit of the Lord Jesus which put it on the map! It was very likely one of the ten cities which comprised “Decapolis.”
The Crisis during the Voyage
All of the synoptic writers detail the same sequence of events: a boat ride, a storm, and then the casting out of Legion. Was the storm a Satanic attempt to keep his goods in peace? Was it an obstacle to see if the Lord Jesus would turn back? It would appear that the Lord Jesus moved in this area for the sole purpose of releasing this man from the grip of Satan. Was one soul worth the danger of the voyage?
The Change in the Victim
Here was a man who had been victimized by Satan. How and when this all occurred we are not told, only that it had been a “long time.” Uncontrollable, unclothed, and uncouth, he dwelled in the tombs, a living death! One word from Christ and the man was transformed. Calm, clothed, controlled, the man became a living testimony to the delivering power of the Son of God (v 25). The Lord Jesus knew that His miracle would not make Him popular with the merchants of the area. Yet despite the dangers of the Lake and the scorn of the city, His love for one soul brought Him to Gadara.
The Contrast in Values
When the town became aware of the miracle and the change in the demoniac, they were amazed. But when they became aware that the change had occurred at the cost of the swine, their attitude changed. To them, swine were more important than the man. To the Lord Jesus, one soul was more important than a herd of swine. He was not indifferent to the brute creation. He is the same God Who rebuked Jonah because of a city with “much cattle” (Jonah 4:11). But to Christ, one soul enjoying fellowship with God was of far more value than the herd.
The people rose up and demanded that He leave. They preferred the bottom line of financial profit to the blessing of spiritual profit. They would tolerate demons as long as it led to a positive balance in the check book. How different our Lord Jesus! He was the merchant Man Who sold all He had for us.
An even greater contrast in values occurred at Calvary where “He esteemed others better” (of more value) than Himself (Phil 2:2-3). He valued each of us to the degree that He went to a cross and gave Himself to all that the darkness would mean.