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19 June 2016

Pentecost 5 Sermon: How Much Jesus Has Done

Preached on Luke 8:26-39
The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 7C
19 June AD 2016

Title: How Much Jesus Has Done (MP3 Audio)

Gadarene Demoniac Summary: How much has God done for you? We can probably make a sizeable list without much effort. Yet when we really stop to think, we know that our list will never be complete because He continues to provide for us. However, some things will always stand out.

When Jesus told the man from whom He drove out the demons named Legion to go home and “declare how much God has done for you,” one event topped the list. So the man “went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.”

Notice how the man expanded upon the message he received from the Lord yet got it exactly right: Sent home to declare God’s wonderful gift, he went home and proclaimed Jesus’ wonderful gift. He announced that his gift from God was truly a gift from Jesus.

Whether or not he fully realized that he’d met God enfleshed, he was certain that Jesus was from God. Meanwhile, the people of the area, seeing what Jesus had done, seemingly became more afraid of the One who banished the demons then they’d been of the demons who’d possessed the man.

How interesting it is that Luke sets this account immediately following that of Jesus stilling the storm. The inhabitants of the region were “afraid” — indeed they felt “great fear” — that someone commanding such might was in their midst. Their response mirrored the disciples from a few verses before: “[T]hey were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?’ (v. 25)”

How much, then, has God done? He has taken on human flesh. He has carried our sins, our guilt, our diseases. He has endured the agony of crucifixion and the final gasps of a dying man. And He has risen from the dead, the firstfruits of our own resurrection. Yet as we ponder this awe-full mystery, The Holy Spirit moves us not to terror at His might displayed in judgment but to joy over His might revealed in mercy.

Jesus and the Gadarene Demoniac Text: Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs.

When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.)

Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.

When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.

And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear.

So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.”

And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:26-39

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of How Much Jesus Has Done.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 3; Isaiah 65:1-9; Galatians 3:23-4:7

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