Ten Minor Characters in the New Testament 5th Entry

5.A Demon Possessed Man

Luke 8:26-39 The main minor-character in this story is most likely not a Jew, and here are some reasons why I think that: He is man who lived in the Decapolis, a predominantly gentile region; he lived in an isolated burial ground in that area, and there were pigs feeding on a hillside close by. What an unlikely place for a rabbi to be! Jesus did everything intentionally – I believe nothing He did was accidental, especially when He had the disciples with Him. Let’s count the number of ways Jesus was showing the disciples how to break down barriers between people without breaking His Father’s laws:

  1. He sought out a gentile area – Jews were not to live in gentile locations.
  2. Jesus interacted with a gentile man – Jews were not to have any long term contact with non-Jews.
  3. This man dwelt among the tombs – Jews were very careful about regulations regarding the dead, even of their own people, still Jesus chose to be in contact with this tomb-dweller in the area of a cemetery.
  4. Jews regard swine as unclean, and eating them is forbidden, yet Jesus did not hesitate to go where there were swine, and then saw fit to use them  for His purposes.
  5. Jesus’ first focus of ministry was to the chosen people of God, the Jews. But, He ministered to this this gentile man by healing him in mind and body, and delivering him of many demons.
  6. After being restored to health, the gentile man begged to go back to Galilee with Jesus and become His disciple, but Jesus said no, he must stay and “’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 8:39

This is such an amazing story from so many angles, but I wonder if we might miss something extraordinary. Do you see what Luke has done, and presumably the gentile man did as well? Luke equated God and Jesus(See Luke 8:39). This story takes place fairly early in Jesus’ ministry, and Jesus had many times asked those He had healed to refrain from identifying Him, but to this man He says “Go and tell!” Jesus  made this formerly demon possessed gentile man His first full time evangelist to the gentiles. Now that is breaking barriers!

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