Matt 8:28-29 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” NIV
Yesterday’s blog introduced the classic account of Christ’s confrontation with the demons known as Legion. Matthew’s version is shorter than that of Luke and Mark and doesn’t include Christ asking the name of the demon. There is some disagreement among Bible scholars about how literal to take this reference in terms of actual numbers. A division of the Roman army would have included anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000, plus a possible 3,000 additional horse men. Did this demoniac have that many demons? A contrary view suggests that the term “Legion” should not be taken literally but was instead representative of a large number, such as we would say “myriad.” Whatever the exact amount of demons, it was an extraordinarily severe case of possession.
Mark and Luke take special note of the fact that this man was naked, a cutting self-mutilator (Mark 5:5 he would cry out and cut himself with stones), and had supernatural strength (Mark 5:4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet.) I’ve often been asked if anyone can be delivered whether or not they want to receive freedom. The answer is, “No.” It is clear from this instance that the man seeking help wanted it. He ran to Jesus, he fell at the feet of the Savior, and shouted at the “top of his voice.” He was vocal, determined, and reverent.Â He was desperate to be free, and that was the key to his exorcism. He was delivered because he wanted it badly.
My experience in exorcism has taught me that those who most intensely desire their freedom most certainly receive their freedom. Demons back down when they realize that the host they inhabit no longer cooperates in any way with the evil agenda of Satan. Those who want the torment of the devil to end need to send a clear message to the Evil One: you are no longer welcome and will not be accommodated. To everyone tormented of Satan, I say, hasten to Jesus, prostrate your heart before him, and SHOUT as loudly as you can the confession of Legion — “Jesus, you are Son of the Most High God!”