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The Scriptorium

Sea of Fools

One sane man among them all. Luke 8.36-39

Luke 8 Part 2 (3)

Pray Psalm 12.1, 2.
Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

Sing Psalm 12.1, 2.
(Hamburg: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)
Help, Lord! The godly cease to be! They who believe in Christ are few.
Falsely the wicked confidently flatter, deceive, and mock Your truth.

Read Luke 8.1-39; meditate on verses 34-39.

1. How did the people from the city and country respond to Jesus?

2. How did He respond to them?

This passage is my number 2 on the all-time list of stupid responses to Jesus. Stupid in the true sense of “having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense” (OED). The people heard what Jesus had done and came out to have a look-see for themselves (vv. 34, 35). They saw the man, whom they had doubtless seen many times before, now “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind” (v. 35). Eyewitnesses reported what had happened to the growing crowd (v. 36).

Can you imagine the excitement? The relief? The sense of wonder? What would we have done? What these people did was to ask Jesus to leave, “for they were seized with great fear” (v. 37). Fear of what, we wonder? That He might throw them in the lake? That something they were unlawfully indulging might be exposed and taken from them? Or just fear of fear and uncertainty?

Jesus, obligingly, “got into the boat and returned” (v. 37). But not before the one sane person among that sea of fools appealed for the privilege of going with Him (v. 38). But Jesus appointed him the mission of going home to tell his family what God had done. And as he was going, he “proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him” (v. 39). That’s why Jesus had him stay, so that the fools who sent Him away would have more opportunities to hear and receive the Good News.

And Jesus has left us here, each of us in our own Personal Mission Field, to boast of Him, rejoice in Him, talk excitedly about Him, and show His healing and restoring love to everyone we meet as we are going. When we know the goodness and power of Jesus like this Gadarene man did, we, too, will follow and proclaim Him where He sends us. They may tell us to go away, and we will oblige. But the Presence of Jesus with us will continue to woo and strive with them, as we continue faithful in our calling.

Oh, and number 1 on my all-time list? The Pharisees and Sadducees in Acts 4 (check it out, especially vv. 13-17).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Could it ever be said of you that you have responded in a #1 or #2 way? Either the way this whole multitude did; or the way the Pharisees and Sadducees did in Acts 4? Any time we doubt Jesus or declare to God that we know better than He how things should be, we are toying with the dubious opportunity of being #3 on this list.

But then there is the man healed from the Legion of demons. Interesting to note that he was, in fact, “the one sane person among that sea of fools”. He, amongst the pig-herders, townsfolk, owners of the pigs, and the ever-present religious snoops, was the only one in his right mind. He loved Jesus and wanted to be with Him (Lk. 8.38).

Jesus did have other plans for this man’s life. Don’t you know, though, with all the nay-sayers around, this man would have been a comfort to Jesus to have as a close follower. In the same way it is hard for us to let our children go, it must have been hard to send this man away. But send him, He did. And this man’s testimony has trickled down to each one of us (Matt. 28.19, 20; Acts 1.8).

Jesus gave him an opportunity to be obedient. And in this he succeeded. “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” “And he went on his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him" (Lk. 8.39). This man got the most important message correct: Jesus is God!

And interesting that Jesus sent him home. First and foremost. So often family members are the ones most hurt by sinful behavior. And the Bible has much to say about how we comport ourselves with those closest to us. “Honor your father and your mother.” “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex. 20.12, 14). “Husbands, love your wives” (Eph. 5.25). If we can’t pull off behaving like Christ in our own homes, we will never have a solid witness anywhere else.

The psalmist Asaph wrote:
“Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.
Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me…
Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God” (Ps. 50.14, 15, 23).

Jesus sends each one of us back to our homes and out to others to prove that we will obey Him. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves…But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (Jms. 1.22, 25).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation [we, the healed and now sane]; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5.17). And now Jesus has sent us home, then out, with a job to do—so let’s do it!

For reflection
1. Why is it so important that we live our faith and testify about Jesus to those who are closest to us?

2. If someone were to ask you, “So, what has Jesus done for you?”, what would you say?

3. What does Jesus promise when we obey His instructions (Jms. 1.22-25)?

Hence we learn how wide is the difference between the knowledge of the goodness, and the knowledge of the power, of God. Power strikes men with terror, makes them fly from the presence of God, and drives them to a distance from him: but goodness draws them gently, and makes them feel that nothing is more desirable than to be united to God. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Luke 8.38

Pray Psalm 12.3-8
Pray that God will protect you from every lie and every false wind of doctrine, that He will empower you to stand in His truth today and to enable you to do good in the Name of Jesus, regardless of how others respond.

Sing Psalm 12.3-8.
(Hamburg: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)
Stop, Lord, the lips that utter lies, all those who speak with boasting tongue!
See how Your holy Word they despise, while their own praises they have sung.

Rise up, O Lord, and rescue all Your precious children sore distressed.
Save those who faithfully on You call; grant them deliv’rance, peace, and rest.

Your words are pure and proven true, like silver seven times refined.
You will preserve Your Word ever new, and keep the heart to You inclined.

Proudly the wicked strut and stand; Your indignation builds on high.
Men may exalt their wicked plans, but You will judge them by and by.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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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 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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