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God’s Word for You

Luke 8:34-37 One thing is needed

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, April 12, 2018

34 When those who were tending the pigs saw what happened, they fled and reported this in the town and in the countryside.  35 People went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet. He was dressed and in his right mind, but they were afraid.  36 Those who saw it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured.  37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were seized by fear. So he climbed into the boat and went back.

Why did the swineherds run to report what had happened? Under the Law of Moses, a shepherd was required to show proof if an animal under his care was killed (Exodus 22:13; Amos 3:12). That way he couldn’t just eat a sheep for himself and say, “A wolf ate it.” These men had lost two thousand hogs, and they needed to report it right now, so that the owners could go to the shoreline and see the corpses.

When they got there, what they found was even more amazing. The possessed man was no longer possessed. He was like a forerunner of Paul: He had been God’s enemy, but was now God’s child. He was like a mirror image of you and me: Once outside, full of uncleanness, too much wickedness and vileness to even count, and then in a moment, cleansed, and “dressed and in his right mind, sitting at Jesus’ feet.” What better way to describe any of us who have been saved?

At least two questions remain. First: Should Jesus have allowed the pigs to be killed in their madness? Second: Why did the people ask Jesus to leave? These two questions answer one another. They asked Jesus to leave because they were afraid he would drive out more demons and kill more of their livestock. That means that they cared more about their possessions (animals or not) than about this man’s eternal soul. If I put something ahead of another person’s eternal soul, shouldn’t I pray that God would rip whatever it is away from me and throw it out of my life, if it means another person might live in heaven with Jesus? Those people in the Gerasenes needed to understand what was important, the one thing that’s necessary (Luke 10:42).

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.