Luke

8:26-39

The mission of the Messiah, 1:5-9:50

5. The dawning of the kingdom in the words of Messiah, 8:1-56

iv] Dark powers stilled - a demoniac healed

Synopsis

Jesus has just confronted the powers of darkness in the stilling of the storm, and now he confronts them again, having reached "the opposite shore." The region of the Gerasenes is Gentile territory and Jesus has probably gone there for a rest, but is confronted by a man being torn-apart by Satanic powers. The "Legion" quickly identify the power of their adversary and look for an easy way out. Infecting a heard of swine for a time seems the best option, but the swine panic and the Legion end up confined in their ancestral home, the abyss. The local population gather, mavel at the man set free from possession, but are somewhat worried at the economic havoc that has ensued. They ask Jesus to move on.

 
Teaching

"Jesus has power over sea and demons, that is, over all that is hostile to man", Danker.

 
Issues

i] Context: See 8:1-18. The Healing of the Gedarene Demoniac is the fourth episode of six which make up the major section of the gospel, The dawning of the kingdom in the words of Messiah, 8:1-56, Luke's focus is on the meaning of the kingdom message. As Ellis puts it, "the new creation, like the old, comes into being by a word. Jesus speaks to the wind, the demons, the dead - and they obey!"

 

ii] Structure: The narrative, The Healing of the Gedarene Demoniac, presents as follows:

Setting, v26-27;

The Legion have their say, v28-30;

They end up in the Abyss, v31-33;

The reaction of the herdsmen, v34-35;

The reaction of the townsfolk, v36-37;

The reaction of the demon possessed man, v38-39.

 

iii] Interpretation:

This episode in Luke's gospel sits neatly with Jesus' calming of the storm, 8:22-25. In the healing of the Gentile demoniac we are given a glimpse of the coming cosmic confrontation between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan, a confrontation played out in the ministry of Jesus. Satan's kingdom is shaken; a Gentile freed; a sign of things to come. Both stories image the powers of darkness which constantly engulf humanity, and both display the defeat of those powers by a powerful word.

 

iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

 
Text - 8:26

The healing of the Gederene demoniac, v26-39: i] Setting, v26-27: Luke tells us that Jesus has entered Gentile territory, although there is confusion as to the exact location. The region referred to by Luke is probably associated with a village near the lake, possibly the village today called Kersa. Luke wants us to see Jesus' meeting with the demoniac as a planned occasion rather than accidental. This is a continuation of Jesus' confrontation with dark powers, powerfully illustrated in the stilling of the storm. The demoniac is quite mad (those who live in the midst of a cemetery were regarded as deranged). He was once a village resident, now his neighbors are the dead.

katepleusan (kataplew) aor. "they sailed" - they sailed toward shore, they approached the shore*. The word serves to illustrate the transition from sea to shore. Mark's "came" doesn't do it for Luke, since this episode actually began with v22 where Jesus sets off from Galilee to confront the dark powers resident in the Gentile territory opposite. Jesus confronts these powers upon the lake and stills them, and now he arrives to confront them again. As they were defeated on the lake, so they will be defeated on the land and confined once move to the deep.

twn Gerashnwn gen. "of the Gerasenes" - The genitive is adjectival, of identification; "the region known as the Gerasenes." There is a geographical problem associated with the identification of Gerasa, given that it is too far away to be the village and environs identified in this story. Gerasa was 25Km from the lake (a Hellenistic city between lake Galilee and the Dead sea). Gadara, some 12Km from the lake, although found in most New Testament manuscripts, is probably a product of journalistic license. Both had considerable attached territory running up to the lake. Solutions abound, but none are convincing. Cranfield's suggestion that the locality is to be identified with a village carrying the modern name of Kersa / Koursi, is worthy of consideration. The problem may not be Luke's (Mark's?), but rests with the person who felt at liberty to correct the author's geography.

antipera + gen. "across" - apposite. One of the 42 improper prepositions in the NT, here using the adverb followed by the genitive of "Galilee".

 
v27

exelqonti (exercomai) dat. part. sing. dat. "when Jesus stepped ashore" - having gone out. The NIV, as with most translations, influenced by Marks temporal genitive absolute, opt for an adverbial, temporal, classification. As Culy notes, Luke has shifted the focus from the action to the person , eg., singular = The focus is on Jesus, even though the disciples are present. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting autw/, "him" = "Jesus", dative of direct object after the verb uJphnthsen, "met"; "a certain man from the city ........ met him / Jesus who had just stepped out of the boat onto the land."

uJphnthsen (uJpantaw) aor. "he was met by" - came near to, met. An interesting use of the word here with the sense that Jesus and the man (more particularly the evil powers possessing him) intend this meeting; "a certain man met him, possessed by demons [lit. having demons]."

ecwn (ecw) pres. part. "a demon-possessed man" - [a certain man] having [demons]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "a certain man"; "a certain man who had demons" = "a man who was demon-possessed."

ek + gen. "from [the town]" - Expressing source/origin. Given the rest of the verse, the phrase means: "who formerly lived in the village nearby."

cronw/ ikanw/ dat. "for a long time" - a considerable time. The dative is adverbial, temporal.

en + dat. "in [a house]" - Expressing space/sphere. A feature of demoniacs is their abandoning of normal living to dwell naked in graveyards, the haunt of demons.

 
v28

ii] The Legion have their say, v28-30: At this point the demons do the talking. Falling before Jesus indicates submission, but not reverence. The demons see no good coming out of their contact with Jesus ("what do you want with me?" = "what good can come to me from contact with you?"). They know well who Jesus is and ask him to restrain from judging them just yet, given that the final judgment is yet to come. The description of the demoniac's condition illustrates the power of this particular possession - no chain could bind him. The use of the military term "legion" (5,000 to 6,000 men), illustrates the power of the demons, but then again, it could be a bluff - "watch out, we are many!"

idwn (oJraw) aor. part. "when he saw [Jesus]" - having seen. The participle is adverbial, temporal, as NIV.

anakraxaV (anakrazw) aor. part. "he cried out" - having cried out. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "he fell down before". A strong word, so more like "he began to scream out".

prosepesen (prospiptw) aor. "fell at [his] feet" - fell down before. Note how Mark uses the word for "worship", but Luke doesn't want to convey the idea that these dark powers reverence Jesus. Fitzmyer suggests "lunged at", but this would imply that the dark powers are, at least partly, in control of the situation. So, probably "fee at his feet in submission to him."

autw/ dat. pro. "his" - [feel down before] him. Dative of direct object.

fwnh/ megalh/ dat. "[shouting] at the top of his voice" - [he said] in/with a loud voice. The dative is adverbial, instrumental, expressing means, and/or modal, expressing manner.

ti emoi kai soi "what do you want with me" - what to me and to you. Both pronouns, "me" and "you", serve as datives of reference/respect; "what with respect to us and with respect to you." A rather enigmatic statement, but probably expressing dread; "what do we have in common", Culy. "What good can come to me from contact with you?", Nolland. cf. 4:34.

tou qeou tou uJyistou gen. "[son] of the most high God" - The genitive is adjectival, relational. The dark powers are well aware of Jesus' divine origins, so "son" is probably filial rather than messianic. The title can be linked to the following sentence, or, as in the NIV, with "what do you want with me, ....."

sou gen. pro. "[I beg] you" - Genitive of direct object after the verb "I beg." Not as strong as Mark's "adjure", as if the dark powers have any power in Christ's presence.

mh ... basanish/V (basanizw) aor. subj. "don't torture [me]" - Subjunctive of prohibition. The word is used of torture (lit. twisting) imposed by a court to extract a confession, inflict punishment... So, the dark powers may be calling on Jesus not to punish them before the judgment day, but they may also just be saying "don't inflict pain."

 
v29

gar "for" - Here expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why the demoniac acted and spoke as he did.

parhggeilen (paraggellw) aor. "Jesus had commanded" - he commanded. Read as a pluperfect. Jesus had already told the demons to leave the man and they are trying to talk him out of it. Some ancient texts have an imperfect, which would then imply that the spirits were addressing Jesus while he was commanding them to come out, or that durative action is being expressed ("repeatedly commanded" - "indicating the difficulty of the case", Evans, this is unlikely), or as Fitzmyer argues, gives a tendential sense "he was about to command ..." The splitting of hairs here is due to a concern that Jesus' command should produce immediate action rather than debate.

tw/ akaqartw/ dat. adj. "[the] impure [spirit]" - [the] unclean [spirit]. Dative of indirect object.

exelqein (exercomai) inf. "to come out" - The infinitive forms an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Jesus had commanded. As such it reports on the words Jesus used, rather than quoting the actual words (as in Mark).

apo + gen. "of [the man]" - from [the man]. Expressing separation; "away from."

gar "for" - Expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why Jesus was casting out the evil spirit. "The reason why Jesus commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man was because ....."

polloiV .. cronoiV dat. "many times" - on many occasions. The dative is adverbial, temporal. The man had bouts of demon possession, or bouts when the possession was evident.

sunhrpakei (sunarpazw) pluperf. "it had seized [him]" - This time the verb is pluperfect to make the timing of the man's possessed condition prior to Jesus' arrival.

edesmeueto (desmeuw) imperf. "though he was chained [hand and foot]" - had been bound [with chains and fetters]. Plummer suggests the imperfect is used to express what usually took place; "Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man because on many occasions it had seized him. (His usual state was bound hand and foot in order to restrain him kai but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert)." "On may an occasion it had seized the man with great violence, people then binding him with chains and fetters so as to make him safe", Cassirer.

fulassomenoV (fulassw) pres. pas. part. "and kept him under guard" - being kept, guarded. The participle is adverbial, possibly final, expressing purpose.

kai "-" - and. Here adversative; "but".

diarrhsswn (diarrhssw) part. "he had broken" - breaking apart. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "he was being driven". The agent of both actions is the demon; "the demon broke his bonds and drove him into the wilderness." Illustrating the power of the possession and therefore, the might of Jesus in dealing with it.

uJpo + gen. "by [the demon]" - Expressing agency.

 
v30

de "-" - Resumptive. Back we go to the story.

soi dat. pro. "[what is] your [name]?" - [what is a name] to/for you. Dative of indirect object / interest advantage, but may be classified as possessive, see Wallace 149. This is the only record of Jesus having a conversation with demonic powers. Some commentators suggest that Jesus asks for the name of the evil powers so he can gain mastery over them, but only the demons believe in this tactic; Jesus is already the master. So, why ask for the name?

legiwn (ov) "Legion" - The evil powers have explained who they are, but they have not given their names. A Roman legion consisted of some 5,000 soldiers, but the term may refer to the brutality of the army; "we are brutally powerful."

oJti "because" - Here expressing cause/reason.

daimonia polla "many demons" - many demon. Demon is singular, but is read as plural. There were many of them, just as Mary had many, seven to be precise.

 
v31

iii] The Abyss is their end, v31-33: In Jewish cosmology the "abyss" is the watery deep under the earth (a place of chaos, as opposed to the created order of the earth) in which the powers of darkness are confined until the day of judgment. The demons don't want to go back there, yet they can't help driving the pigs to that very place. In giving them "permission" to enter the pigs, Luke reminds us that Jesus' mission is not to destroy the demonic powers, but rather to deliver a people from their control.

parekaloun (parakalew) pl. imperf. "they begged him repeatedly" - they besought him. The "repeatedly" my be intended by the imperfect, or the imperfect may just imply that their pleading fell of deaf ears; they didn't get what they wanted. Of course, the imperfect is often used for speech since speech is by nature durative. Note that Luke finally moves the verbs into the plural "they" when referring to the demons.

iJna + subj. "-" - that. Forming a dependent statement of indirect speech, entreating, expressing what they begged Jesus for, namely, not to command them.

autoiV dat. pro. "[not to order] them" - Dative of direct object after the verb epitaxh/, "to order."

apelqein (apercomai) aor. inf. "to go" - The infinitive forms an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing the content of the command that the demons do not want to hear.

abusson (oV) "Abyss" - very deep hole, bottomless pit, underworld, hell, dwelling place of Satan and his minions ........ Luke obviously sees the abyss as a place of confinement for dark powers, and as noted by some commentators, probably understands the depths of the sea as this place. It is the dwelling place of the great leviathan, the personification of evil. Mark has the spirits asking that they be cast "out of the district."

 
v32

iJkanwn adj. "large [herd]" - sufficient. "Quite a lot". "Many", rather than "large", or Mark's "great".

coirwn (oV) gen. "of pigs" - The genitive is adjectival, of content; "consisting of pigs."

boskomenh (boskw) pres. pas. part. "feeding" - The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "pigs", and with "on the hillside", forms a relative clause; "there was a large heard of pigs which was grazing on the hillside, and ...."

en tw/ orei "on the hillside" - on the mountain/hill. The preposition en expresses space/sphere. Although the definite article doesn't necessarily refer to a particular hill, a nearby hill, from which the pigs fall into the lake, is obviously intended. Better than Marks "by the mountain."

parekalesan (parakalew) pl. aor. "the demons begged" - they besought. The aorist may seek to imply that they sensed that their request would be granted / permitted / allowed. There is much debate over why Jesus would agree to a request from demonic forces. The answer probably lies in the humour of the story. It is quite comical that dark powers, normally confined to the ocean deep, should think that they had tricked Jesus into leaving them to their mischief (in "the country", Mk), but then they find themselves back in the deep.

iJna + subj. "to [let]" - that [he allow, permit]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what they begged for.

autoiV dat. pro. "them" - Dative of direct object after the verb epitrepw, "allow, permit."

eiselqein (eisercomai) aor. inf. "go" - to enter. The infinitive may be classified as complementary after a cognitive verb, completing the sense of the verb "allow", but also forming a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the demons want Jesus to allow, namely, to go into the pigs.

autoiV dat. pro. "[he gave] them [permission]" - [he permitted] them. Dative of direct object.

 
v33

exelqonta (exercomai) part. "when [the demons] came out" - having come out. The participle is adverbial forming a temporal clause "after coming out" or "when ..."

apo "of [the man]" - from [the man]. Expressing separation; "away from."

wJrmhsen (oJrmaw) aor. "[the herd] rushed" - rushed [headlong].

krhmnou (oV) "steep bank" - precipice, bank, cliff, slope.

apepnigh (apopnigw) aor. pas. "drowned" - choked. Mark uses the imperfect, "proceeded to choke/drown." The demons didn't want to end up in the abyss, but they drove the pigs mad and so ended up there.

 
v34

iv] The reaction of the herdsmen, v34-35: The herdsmen are obviously less than impressed. They gather a crowd of locals and on returning to the scene, they witness the peaceful hand of God's power and are afraid.

idonteV (eidon oJraw) part. "when ... saw" - having seen. The participle here may form a temporal clause, "when .....", but can also be rendered "they saw what had happened ...."

oiJ boskonteV (boskw) part. "those tending the pigs" - the ones feeding. The participle serves as a substantive (forms a verbal phrase functioning as a noun).

to gegonoV (ginomai) acc. perf. part. "what had happened" - the thing having become. The participle serves as a substantive, object of "saw".

aphggeilan (apanggellw) aor. "reported this" - told, reported. The verb is without an object, so the object may be rendered as "this / it / what they had seen / ....." What they saw obviously scared them.

eiV + acc. "in [the town and countryside]" - to [the city/town/village and to the farms]. Spacial. "To the residents of the nearby village and the surrounding farming community."

 
v35

exhlqon (ercomai) pl. aor. "the people went out" - they went out. The villagers and farming community, rather than the herdsmen.

idein (oJraw) aor. inf. "to see" - The infinitive here forms a purpose clause; "in order to see what had happened."

hlqon (ercomai) aor. "when they came" - The temporal sense is implied by the context, but not by the grammar; "when they reached Jesus", Moffatt.

kaqhmenon (kaqhmi) pres. part. "sitting" - This participle, along with the participles "having been dressed" and "being of sound mind", functions as an object complement of the accusative object "man". "They discovered the man ........ seated [at the feet of Jesus], clothed and sane", Moffatt.

tou Ihsou (oV) gen. "[at the feet] of Jesus" - [beside the feet] of Jesus. The genitive is adjectival, possessive. The image here is of the man now functioning as a disciple.

efobhqhsan (fobew) aor. pas. "they were afraid" - This is an initial first step toward either belief or unbelief. The scene is one of powerful calm; the pigs gone, the man sane, and so the townsfolk are afraid.

 
v36

v] The whole Gentile region gets caught up in the consequences of the exorcism. Filled with fear, they ask Jesus to leave and take with him this manifestation of divine presence and power. "The Gentiles, like the Jews, are rejectors of Jesus' message", Ellis.

oi idonteV (eidon oJraw) part. "those who had seen it" - the ones having seen. The participle serves as a substantive: "the eyewitnesses (swine herders)".

autoiV dat. pro. "[told] the people" - [reported] to them. Dative of indirect object. The pronoun is best rendered as the noun "people / spectators / villagers ..."

pwV "how" - Here introducing an object clause / dependent statement expressing something about what is said, rather than what is said.

oJ daimonisqeiV (daimonizomai) aor. pas. part. "the demon-possessed man" - the one having been demon-possessed. The participle serves as a substantive.

eswqh (swzw) aor. pas. "had been cured" - was healed/saved. For Luke, a healing like this serves as a visible expression of salvation.

 
v37

aJpan to plhqoV "all the people" - all the multitude, the whole crowd. Is Luke making the point that the conversion of the Gentiles is still in the future? Mark is nowhere near as definite. Anyway, given such a demonstration of divine power (not just economic disruption as suggested by some), fear drives the people to ask Jesus to leave.

thV pericwrou gen. adj. "of the region" - The adjective serves as a substantive; ablative expressing source / origin; "the whole crowd of people from the district", Phillips.

twn Gerashnwn gen. adj. "of the Gerasenes" - The adjective serves as a substantive while the genitive is adjectival, of identification; "called / known as the Gerasenes."

hrwthsen (erwtaw) aor. "asked" - A much softer Greek word than the previous "begged/besaught" used by the demons. Used of ask a question.

apelqein (apercomai) aor. inf. "to leave [them]" - to depart [from them]. The infinitive forms a dependent statement, indirect speech, entreating, expressing what they asked; "they asked that he depart from them."

oJti "because" - Here expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why they asked Jesus to leave.

uJpestrefen (uJpostrefw) aor. "and left" - returned (to Galilee)

 
v38

vi] The reaction of the demon possessed man, v38-39: As a Gentile, the healed demoniac has no place in the Jewish mission of Jesus, but he may proclaim the mighty acts of God to his own people. Here, we see an echo of the coming Gentile mission.

edeito (deomai) imperf. "begged" - begged, pleaded, prayed. The imperfect may indicate a constant pleading on the part of the man, "he was begging", although it is not unusual for an imperfect to be used of speech, given that it is durative by nature. Luke is treating v38 and 39 as a new episode with its own message which is why the "pleading" is following the "leaving".

autou gen. pro. "-" - [begged] of him. Genitive of direct object after the verb "begged".

einai "to go [with him]" - to be [with him]. The infinitive of the verb "to be" may be understood as forming a final clause expressing purpose, but is more likely serving to form a dependent statement of indirect speech, entreating, expressing what the man asked Jesus; "begged that he might be with him", NRSV.

de "but" - but, and. Adversative, as NIV.

apelusen (apoluw) aor. "sent [him] away" - dismissed/released [him]. Jesus has not refused him, but has given him another direction to follow. His following Jesus will not so much entail being with Jesus, but rather being with his own people. Is this the message of the episode?

legwn (legw) pres. part. "saying" - Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "sent away"; "Jesus sent him away and said". Culy suggest adverbial, instrumental, expressing means; "sent him away by saying ..."

 
v39

uJpostrefe (uJpostrefw) imp. "return [home]" - return [to the house of you]. "Return to your local community."

soi dat. "for you" - to you. Dative of interest, advantage; "for you." Probably "to you", in the sense of witnessing to the sign of his healing.

dihgou (dihgeomai) imp. "tell" - explain, communicate, relate.

kai "so [the man went away]" - and [he went away]. This conjunction is not normally inferential, but is more properly connective / coordinative. None-the-less the context implies an inferential sense; "so he went away and all over the town he proclaimed all that Jesus had done for him", Barclay.

khrusswn (khrussw) pres. part. "and told" - preaching, proclaiming. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of the man's going. This episode prefigures the coming Gentile mission recorded in Acts. Interestingly, Mark notes the response of the people, namely "amazement". For Mark, amazement is the first response toward Jesus, from which comes either belief or disbelief. Luke has already mentioned the people's "fear" and this seems to be enough for him.

kaq (kata) + acc. "all over [town]" - Spacial; "throughout the whole city."

autw/ dat. pro. "[how much Jesus had done] for him" - Dative of interest, advantage.

 

Luke Introduction

Exposition

 

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