“Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons….” Luke 8:26-27
When Jesus came into the country of the Gerasenes it appeared there was no one so helpless and hopeless in all the land as the demon possessed man. He was out of his mind, literally a mad-man. By the time Jesus left, however, that same man appears to be the only sane one around. For after Jesus had demonstrated His saving power in that man’s life, notice how everyone else around responded: “they asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear.”
The people of that region encountered in Jesus Christ someone unlike they had ever known or seen before. Here was a man who commanded the obedience of a legion of demons and who turned a violent, raging mad-man into a gentle and humble servant. What Jesus did, they could not explain. They were more terrified and disturbed by His authority than they were in awe of it. And so, instead of pressing in to know the One who had power over demons and power to give the lost new life, they pushed Him away—they begged Him to depart.
The reaction those men had to Jesus is a common one. When the character, message and power of Christ confronts a world asleep, many would rather not be woken, they’d rather not be shaken. His Words and works call for a response. They aggravate the conscience of those who would rather live without Him. And so, to enjoy a temporal peace, they send away the Prince of Peace. They will not sit under the teaching of God’s Word, they will not listen to the Gospel; though they appear more civil than the demoniac of Luke 8, in their hearts they are just as opposed to Christ as that demon-possessed man had been. In the end, then, which of these is the “lost cause”? They both are. But the encouragement we have from the Scriptures is just this: the lost are precisely the ones Christ came to save.