What have I to do with You? (Luke 8:26-39)

“They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!”  For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

(Luke 8:26-39) 

In the verses we read today, there’s a lot about demons. Some people might feel frightened by the mention of demons. I used to get frightened. But since having faith in Jesus Christ, this has totally changed. Instead, the demons fear me. This is not only for me but for all who believe in Jesus. Demons fear Jesus Christ, and hence, they fear anyone that has received Jesus Christ and become one with Him.

Some people get possessed by spirits (demons) and suffer greatly. When I see them, I have a strong desire to go and help. If one understands the Picture of God’s Will, that is, God’s will, then they can restrain the works of these unclean demons.

The Scripture we just read is also found in the Book of Matthew, but what we read is from the Book of Luke. It was written by a man named Luke. Jesus went to the region of the Gadarenes, and there was a man who was demon-possessed. This man didn’t wear clothes and lived among the tombs. To the people, he appeared as a madman who had become insane. His condition may be described as schizophrenia. There are quite a number of people suffering from it. They can’t use their own will but are controlled by another person’s will, and they have no control over their bodies. They are literally out of their minds.

When Jesus went to that town, He encountered that man. Although it is not written here in detail, the same event is written in the Book of Matthew, where there were actually two men. So, Jesus said to the man, “Come out!” However, He wasn’t instructing the man to come out but addressing the demon inside the man. Demons love to go into people’s bodies, and when told to come out, they often resist. So, the demon begged, “Please let me stay here!”

And then he said, “Jesus, Son of the Most High God!” The remarkable thing is that none of the people at the time believed that Jesus is the Son of God. Even though Jesus declared it Himself, they couldn’t understand Him. However, this demon actually recognized who Jesus was. The demon said, “Jesus, Son of the Most High God!” Then it said, “What have I to do with You? I have nothing to do with You. I beg you, do not torment me!”

The demon begs Jesus not to torment him and later pleads Jesus not to send him into the abyss. The term ‘abyss’ means a bottomless pit, a spiritual space where demons are sent. “Have You come to send us to the abyss before the time has come?” This indicates that demons must go into the abyss when a certain time comes, and it is a torment for them. So they begged Him, saying, “Please do not send us into the abyss!”

At that point, Jesus would have instructed them to leave. Then the demon replied, “If you are going to send us out, allow us to enter the herd of swine over there, rather than sending us into the abyss!” In the region of Gadarenes, one of the primary means of livelihoods was putting pigs out to pasture. Instead of raising pigs on farms, they allowed them to graze freely. Just as sheep are grazed in open grasslands, they did the same with pigs. There would’ve been hundreds or even thousands of them there.

Jesus asked the demon possessed man, “Who are you?” To be precise, He said, “What is your name?” If there was only one demon, it would’ve responded, “I am so-and-so”.

When I went to China as a missionary, I was just an ordinary believer and did not have much experience of driving out demons, although I had some prior experiences. During my visit to a particular village, there was a person who suffered from epilepsy, exhibiting symptoms such as foaming at the mouth and collapsing on the ground. While I was preaching, he started to have an epileptic seizure. So, I cursed the demon in him, “You unclean demon, get out of him!” In response, the demons screamed in torment. I then asked, “What is your name?” The answer that came through the man’s lips was, “I am Wang shyien yien”. Wang was the surname. The demon answered, “I’m Wang shyien yien!” However, since I wasn’t from that town, I didn’t know who it was. Surprisingly, everyone in the town knew Wang Shyien Yien and was all surprised, exclaiming, “Ooh…” Though I didn’t know who it was, all the people of that town knew this Wang shyien yien.

So, I asked the demon, “Who is Wang shyien yien?” It turns out she was a young girl who lived in that town but tragically took her own life by hanging a few years ago. I then asked, “Why did you come into this person?” She explained that she came in when he was startled by something. While this man was walking, someone approached him from behind and frightened him by saying, “Boo!” Startled by this sudden scare, the man screamed in surprise, and it was in that moment that the demon entered him. The shriek and subsequent fall led to his first epileptic fit. That was his first epileptic fit. This serves as a reminder that even playful scares can provide opportunities for demons to enter individuals, which is why we should avoid such actions.

So, the demon manifested, I cursed it, and then the demon left. Later, I returned to that village after being away for 6 months. When I called that person and asked if he had experienced an epileptic fit again since our encounter, he said he never had one at all. Previously, he used to have them almost once every week. In this way, demons can reveal their own names.

So, when Jesus asked, “Who are you? What is your name?” the demon that was within the man living in the region of the Gadarenes replied, “Legion!” and added, “For we are many.” If it had been just one, it would have given its name.  Instead, the demon answered, “We are a legion!” How many were there? There were roughly 2000 pigs nearby, and if the demons could possess the entire herd, it means there were likely more than 2,000 demons in total.

We can gain a better understanding of this from the demon’s response, which was, “Legion!” A legion referred to a unit in the Roman army during that period. It is similar to a regiment. The demon replied, “We are a legion!” At that time, there was a conflict between the people of that region and the Roman army, resulting in the death of over 2,000 individuals. Many of these demons had entered into that one man. Consequently, he couldn’t overcome this, lost his sanity, and became mentally disturbed.

Then when Jesus appeared before him, the demons couldn’t hide but revealed their presence. They begged Him, saying, “What have I to do with You? Do not torment me! Please leave me! If You intend to send us into the abyss, allow us to enter the herd of pigs instead, because the time has not come yet!” Jesus granted their request. And then what happened? Demons are invisible, right? However, the demons that were inside this man were driven out. At that moment, the herd of pigs, numbering about 2000, all rushed in one direction. They rushed towards a steep cliff that led to the sea. The herd of pigs rushed toward the cliff, plunged into the sea, and drowned. They all perished.

When a demon enters a person, its nature manifests. Whether the demon enters a person it favors or not, it will display its own character. Consequently, the primary action of a demon within a person is to harm – causing illness, death, and suffering. Even if the demon enters someone it cares about, its ultimate goal is to destroy. Thus, getting close to a demon will ultimately result in personal loss.

However, many people in Korea, Asia, and across the world seek to maintain a close relationship with demons. Why? They believe that the demons can provide immediate help, so they worship them and perform ancestral rituals. While demons may seem to offer temporary protection, ultimately, individuals who invite them in share the same fate as the demons. For example, if a person who died of cancer becomes a demon and enters another person, that person may also develop cancer. Similarly, if a person who died from alcoholism becomes a demon and possesses someone, the possessed individual may start drinking excessively. If a demon originally died from hypothermia and enters a person, it may lead the possessed individual to suffer the same fate. These occurrences can be quite frightening, however, for those who believe in Jesus, these situations are not frightening. Still, it does sound scary in unknown situation.

A certain pastor in China shared a testimony with me. One of his believers experienced shortness of breath whenever a demon manifested in him. As the demon manifests in him, a red mark would appear on his neck like a rash. At first, the pastor wondered what that was. However, as he continued to drive out the demon, he discovered that the demon had originally been a person who had taken their own life by hanging.  Even in the 21st century, with advanced scientific knowledge, these occurrences are not uncommon in our surroundings. People often dismiss them, saying, “Such things don’t exist!” But in reality, these events happen frequently.

Such occurrences are indeed quite common in churches like ours, Sungrak Church, where we have a deep understanding of the Bible and the spiritual realities it reveals. Many church members have personally experienced the driving out demons from themselves and have also participated in delivering others from demonic oppression.

However, the problem is that in the world, people often consider demons as friends and cooperate with them. They make deals with demons, saying, “I will look after you and you must worship me!” This is the worldly way. I know someone from my school days who had a similar experience. His father had passed away in a car accident when he was young. Later, when he was about to start his own business, his father appeared to him in a dream and suggested to him. His father said, “Although you are the youngest, serve me well, and I will make your business flourish!” The dream was so vivid that he decided to take on the responsibility of rituals and ceremonies, saying, “From now on, I’ll take charge of the rites for our father.”  And then he started his business, and his business subsequently flourished. In this way, people collaborate with demons.

But did that success continue? The business did well for a while, but eventually, it became too difficult, and it collapsed completely. One of his employees there was even a relative of his. When the business grew in a short time, it was hard to hire people, right? So, he brought in some trusted relatives to help him. However, as time went on, these relatives experienced too much stress because they were not getting paid. Sadly, one of these relatives, who was still in thirties, died of liver cancer. So, even though things seemed to be going well for a brief period in the end, everything fell apart. His family faced difficulties, and the people working with him also struggled. This is what demons do.

Demons not only torment us on the earth but ultimately hinder a person’s spirit from meeting God, leading them to be cursed and eventually become a demon, ending up in hell. That is what they do.

The very reason why Jesus, the Son of God, came to this world was to save humanity in such a desperate state. So, Jesus Himself judged the prince of demons. What the prince of demons did was kill Jesus. He killed Jesus by way of the laws in this world, legally sentencing Jesus to death. However, do you know what is more remarkable? God raised Jesus to life from the dead. Although He was legally put to death, God raised Jesus to life, affirming that Jesus is without sin. Therefore, since Jesus has already defeated the authority of demons, those who believe in Jesus today possess the authority to overcome demons.

Where is this authority found? It is in the name of God, namely Jesus. That is why we believe in Jesus. When we rebuke demons in Jesus’ name, they will flee. We can be healed too. Though I am not a special person, by cursing them in Jesus’ name, I have witnessed the blind regain their sight and the deaf regain their hearing. Among our Sungrak Church members who pray earnestly and obediently follow God’s word, whether significant or small, have such similar experiences. Therefore, all of us can truly live with the power that is like God.

But what did the demon-possessed man in the region of the Gadarenes say to Jesus? “You are the Son of God!”, and he added, “What have I to do with You? Please leave me!” However, when the demons were driven out of him, what happened to him? He regained his sanity. He was in his right mind and sat before Jesus. Later, he even said he would follow Jesus. But Jesus dissuaded him and sent him off saying, “Go to your family and testify about what you experienced!” He was so sound in his mind that he even wanted to become a disciple and followed Him.

However, there were surely people who witnessed the herd of pigs rushing into the water and drowning, right? Those individuals went into town and shared the entire story with the townspeople. They saw the demon-possessed man being restored to his senses and the herd of pigs perishing, which caused them to become concerned. What worried them was the possibility that if Jesus remained in their town, all the pigs in the town would also die. That was their primary concern. Consequently, they thought, ‘We cannot let this man stay in our town. He will take away our livelihood!’ So, they begged Jesus, saying, “Please leave us!” As a result, Jesus left that region. They sent away the Son of God. The Son of God was too much of a burden to them. If He remained with them, all the demons would get expelled but all the pigs would die too, resulting in immediate financial loss. This is why they requested that Jesus leave right away.

If they had accepted Jesus, those people would’ve received eternal life. They would’ve been healed, and all of their troubles would have been resolved. They would have received answers to problems that even people of the world couldn’t help with. The most fundamental problem would’ve been resolved. However, they chose to send Jesus away just to save their pigs.

What those people said is the same as what the demon said: “What have I to do with You? Why have You come to torment me?” In other words, “Why did You come here to cause trouble on us? Why are You causing us financial losses? Please leave us!” By doing so, they distanced themselves from Jesus entirely. In other words, they had nothing to do with God. They missed out on receiving any of what God wanted to give them. In this way, as we strive to protect our financial gains, as well as our traditions and culture, we may end up pushing away Jesus, who came to give us life and blessings.

Each one of you must recognize who it is that you are seeking to meet here in our church. He is God. Jesus is the One who can bestow upon us the life. He is incomparably more precious than any herd of pigs. He is the One who can provide us with that which we must acquire, even if it means losing the pigs. You might be concerned about missing work on the Lord’s Day when you come to church, and yes, there could be some financial loss. However, through Jesus, you have the opportunity to gain something far more precious than that through Jesus.

I’m responsible for the Chinese worship service, and there are many Chinese individuals who come to the service. The reason why they have come to Korea is to earn money. Regardless of their previous work in China, when they come here, they have to do labor. They work in restaurants and do all the hard jobs. Despite these challenging circumstances, they must search for employment that allows them to take Lord’s Day off for worship. But is finding such a job easy? Which restaurant or workplace closes on Lord’s Days? Which employer grants a day off for religious observance on Lord’s Day? Therefore, finding suitable employment can be quite challenging for them.

So, some individuals are willing to sacrifice economic stability and endure hardships, determined not to leave Seoul. They are resolute in their pursuit of employment that allows them to have Lord’s Days off for worship. Eventually, through persistent prayer, they do find suitable jobs. Interestingly, these people may not seem to earn a lot, but when you look back, everything appears to go well for them. On the other hand, those who relentlessly chase after money may seem to accumulate wealth, but in the end, they find themselves with nothing to show for it.

There was an individual who had been working in Korea while staying illegally for about 10 years. However, when he was about to return home, he fell ill and went to see a doctor. He was diagnosed with cancer. Because he didn’t have health insurance in Korea, he couldn’t afford the treatment here. So, he went to China for medical care. As a result, all the money he had worked hard for during those 10 years had to be spent on covering his medical bills. Likewise, man does not know what is ahead of him. Without God meeting us, we cannot guarantee anything.

Therefore, I bless you all in the name of Jesus, the Son of God, that you will welcome Him. May you not be like those who, for the sake of a few pigs, said, “Please leave us! What have we to do with You?” Instead, in the name of Jesus, I bless you that you will all say “Jesus, the Son of God! Please come and meet me!” I will pray.

God our Father, we thank You for sending us Your Son, Jesus. You are willing to give us Your life and Your blessing, and You have faithfully fulfilled that purpose. We pray that Your will may be fulfilled upon the lives of everyone gathered here today. Please Help them to open their hearts wide to meet the Son of God. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center