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The Scriptorium

Tormentor of Tormentors

We need to be prepared. Luke 8.26-29

Luke 8 Part 2 (1)

Pray Psalm 58.10, 11.

The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked,
So that men will say,
“Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
Surely He is God who judges in the earth.”

Sing Psalm 58.10, 11.
(Arlington: This Is the Day the Lord Hath Made)
The righteous will rejoice to see the vengeance of the Lord.
All men will say, “Then God must be, the righteous to reward.”

Read Luke 8.1-25; meditate on verses 26-29.

1. How did the demons treat the man they possessed?

2. What did they, speaking through the man’s voice, respond to Jesus?

The old regime of world order, which was presided over by Satan and his numerous spiritual subordinates, has come to an end. Jesus is bringing the new regime of the Kingdom of God, and this is Good News.

Well, not entirely. It wasn’t good news for the demons tormenting that poor Gadarene (Gerasene) man. And they knew it. They suspected that Jesus had come to “torment them”, as Matthew has it, “before the time” (Matt. 8.29). The defeat and binding of Satan (Lk. 4.1-13) reverberated throughout the spirit world. The demons understood their happy days were over. They knew Jesus, and they knew to fear Him (cf. Jms. 2.19). They understood that a day of final destruction is coming (Rev. 20.7-10), but they continued to “party on”, as it were, hoping they might escape notice.

These vicious, cruel, heartless spiritual tormentors had oppressed this man “for a long time.” Look at his miserable condition (v. 27)! This man is a microcosm of the world wherever the remnants of Satan’s dominion continue – oppressed, despised, impoverished, hopeless, fearful, as good as dead. Who would do this to someone? Such beings deserve the worst we can imagine.

How about a lake of eternal fire?

The man’s response to Jesus is an amazing combination of his heart’s desire and the demons’ dread. He fell before Jesus because he knew Him. “What have I to do with You?” is literally, “What to me and to You?”, that is, “What’s with us?” This is the voice of the man crying for help. But the demons who control him know Jesus, too. They know Him as their Tormentor, and they seem to rebuke Him for getting ahead of Himself, as Matthew’s account makes clear.

Jesus fully intended to torment those demons. Smash out their teeth? Break their fangs? Melt them like water? Not torment enough. Their destruction in the Lake of Galilee portends their ultimate and eternal torment in the lake of fire. “Before the time?” For that Gadarene man, “Just in time.”

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
Indeed, “who would do this to someone?” And those that do? They continue, even today, having not received the memo that they are eternally finished.

The description of this man is heart-rending: naked, homeless, bound in shackles and chains that could not bind him, destitute in the wilderness and amongst the tombs. Those who send others into estranged privation are still active today. They would like nothing better than for all to be demoniacs. The tormentor has his sights on everyone.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6.12).

And beware, they are deceivers. “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11.14).
“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8.44). He does not wish you well.

But Jesus. “When He stepped out on the land…He…commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man” (Lk. 8.27, 29). “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely He is God who judges in the earth” (Ps. 58.11). “Jesus…gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Tit. 2.14).

Our job is twofold: First, to keep ourselves pure and safe from the enemy of our soul. “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully” is the one who may “stand in His holy place” (Ps. 24.4, 3). And second, to be our brother’s keeper. “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter” (Prov. 24.11).

We are God’s ambassadors, sent to do works of mercy like Jesus did. “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5.20).

Who would do this for someone? Only those who know that we are washed, we are sanctified, we are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6.11); and know that He, the Ruler over the kings of the earth, loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Rev. 1.5). We will be the ones who strive to give the tormented new life in Christ, since we were once as lost as they (Rom. 5.8).

For reflection
1. Do you believe that spiritual powers of wickedness are still active today? What evidence can you cite?

2. What can you do to make yourself less vulnerable to such powers?

3. Whom will you encourage today to resist the devil and all the powers of darkness?

We may learn much out of this history concerning the world of infernal, malignant spirits, which though not working now exactly in the same way as then, yet all must at all times carefully guard against. And these malignant spirits are very numerous. They have enmity to man and all his comforts. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 8.26-29

Pray Psalm 58.1-9.
Spiritual forces of wickedness in high places continue to torment and corrupt many, including many world leaders. Pray that kings and rules everywhere will submit to the rule of Jesus in their hearts, delivering them from evil thoughts and influences and transforming them into servants of God for good (Rom. 13.1-4).

Sing Psalm 58.1-9.
(Arlington: This Is the Day the Lord Hath Made)
Do you indeed speak righteousness, you rulers of the earth?
And do you judge the sons of men according to their worth?

No, not at all, but in their hearts they seek unrighteous ways.
Their hands weigh out upon the earth cruel violence all their days.

The wicked from the womb rebel; from birth they utter lies.
Their tongues of serpent’s venom tell; all truth their ears despise.

Break, shatter, and destroy them, Lord; dissolve them from the day.
Consume them by Your mighty Word; and sweep them all away.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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