THE DIFFERENCE JESUS MAKES
Luke 8:26 39
Jesus Christ saw worth in every person He met. He never met a life that He felt was beyond hope. The demoniac
of Gadara may have been outwardly the most impossible case He ever met. There was nothing in his outward
appearance to indicate that he had worth. He did not have worth in the eyes of his family and neighbors. They
were probably relieved when he moved out of town and into the tombs. He surely did not have worth in his own
eyes. He seemed to be firmly bent toward self destruction. Yet Jesus saw him as a person of worth.
Do you know someone that you feel to be of absolutely no worth? It may be that you feel this way about yourself. If
you feel that way about yourself, I want to conŽsider the difference that Jesus Christ can make in a human life.
What He did for the demonic He can do for you.
I. JESUS RELEASES LIFE FROM THE DESTRUCTIVE POWERS OF EVIL.
It would be interesting to know more about this man. Where did this downward slide begin in his life? How did he
come to be possessed by these evil spirits that threatened his destruction? However we might learn something
from Jesus. Jesus did not concern himself with how the man had gotten into such a condition. His only concern
was the present condition of the man, and what could be done to bring to the man a wholeness of life again.
The evil spirits in the man resisted the approach of Jesus with a loud outcry. "What have I to do with you, Jesus,
Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me!" These hostile spirits had almost destroyed the man
physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The method of Jesus was to demand that they came out of the
man at once. However, in the process Jesus demanded of them an acknowledgement of their identity. He
demanded, "What is your name?" They replied "legion," because many demons had entered him.
The demonstrative way in which the demons finally left the man has bothered some. It has bothered some that
Jesus was involved in the destruction of a herd of hogs. However, this may simply be an indication that Jesus
placed much more value upon the man than he did the herd. Human personality is the thing of supreme value to
Him. It may have also been a visible thing to be of help to the poor victim. Can you imagine the feeling that must
have gone over the poor man when the evil, destructive power that had controlled his life for so long was visibly
removed, when he was able to see the power transferred to a herd of pigs, and drown in the sea? It must have
impressed upon him the reality of the deliverance.
This is the first thing that Jesus does. He releases the life from the powers that bind it. Some of you find yourself
bound today. You may not actually be bound by a demon living in you, but you may be bound by alcohol. This is
surely a destructive power that binds so many lives. You may be bound by lust. You may be bound by hate and
hostility. There may be in you emotions that you can no longer control. They have control of you. Jesus is able to
set you free. He is stronger than any thing that may be in control of your life today.
II. JESUS ENABLES SELF CONTROL.
When Jesus met the man, he was not in control of any part of his life. Everything
he did was dictated by the evil power that was in his life. Can you imagine what this did to the man's feelings about
himself? He must have been filled with self hate. But in the end the man is found sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed
and in his right mind.
"In his right mind" is the term that I want us to consider. The word has two ideas in it. One is that there had been
an element of insanity in the man's condition, and that Jesus corrected that. However, we must remember that
there is an element of insanity in all sin. The person who commits sin is never acting wisely or in their own best
interest. They are acting in a way that is destructive. The other idea in the word is to think soberly, to exercise self
control. Paul declares that the Lord does not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and of a sound mind. It is
this same word. It means that the Lord gives to us self control, a sober mind, an ability to see things in proper
perspective and to conduct our affairs accordingly.
Such self control is so important to life. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit listed by Paul in the Galatian letter. For
some of you life is a depressing mess because of your lack of self control. Nothing is right. You are in trouble at
work, at home, and everywhere. It can all be traced back to your lack of self control. When the crowd found this
man seated at the feet of Jesus, there was an obvious contentment and self control in his life. Jesus had done this
III. JESUS MAKES HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS POSSIBLE.
This man is a good example of what sinful behavior does to relationships. When Jesus found the man, there was
not one meaningful relationship in his life. He was separated from his family, his friends, and God. His lonely life in
the tombs was symbolic of the whole of his life. When evil possesses a man, he will suffer in the relationships of his
But Jesus changes this. While the man's first reaction to Jesus was that of fear and rejection, the last word is
different. The crowd finds the man sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind. His sitting at the feet
of Jesus indicates that he now has a good relationship with Jesus. He was ready to listen and follow the
instructions of Jesus. The relationship became so meaningful in his life that he was prepared to go with Jesus. He
wanted to maintain the relationship at all cost. But Jesus instructed him to go home to his family. Now, it would be
possible for him to have healthy relationships with his family and friends.
This is so important. We have mistakenly understood that all Jesus does is save us from our sins and take us to
heaven when we die. This is true, but it involves so much more. When he saves us from our sins, he makes it
possible for us to relate to others in a meaningful way. It is then possible for us to love and to receive love.
I have just finished reading Dr. Robert Schuller's newest book, Self Esteem, the New Reformation. While I would
not agree with all of his conclusions, I would surely agree with him that Jesus Christ gives to man the self esteem
that is essential for the building of healthy relationships. It must have made a profound difference in the thinking of
this poor man about himself when he realized that Jesus Christ truly counted him as a person of worth. He had
long before concluded that the evil in him made him of no worth. He was not worth his family knowing, not worth
the attention of his friends, really not even worthy of life itself. But when Jesus had finished, he was ready for
relationships in life that were healthy.
Could this be where you are today? You are probably not that extreme, or you would not be here. The fact that
you are here probably indicates that you have a reŽlationship with someone who is here, but it may not. Your life
may be void of a good healthy human relationship. Jesus wants to make you into a person that can both give love
and receive love.
IV. JESUS MAKES LIFE USEFUL.
Jesus knew that this man needed something to make him feel useful. This was more important that the man being
allowed to continue in his fellowship. It had been so long since the man had been able to do anything constructive
and worthwhile. So Jesus instructs him, "Return to your own house, and tell that great things God has done for
you." He makes him a missionary to his own house at once.
He does this to everyone. Jesus gives to each person he receives a spiritual gift that gives them a meaningful and
useful place in the body of Christ. When the Church is functioning like it should be every member will have a
sense of being needed. They will feel that the Church would be incomplete without them. Their life is important.
Do you feel a need for what Jesus did for this man? Do you feel a need for freedom from things that bind you? Do
you feel a need for that right mind, the self control? Do you feel the need for healthy relationships in your life? Do
you feel the need for your life to be made useful? Then, there is hope for you. Jesus Christ has not changed. He
still makes this kind of difference in the lives of those who truly receive Him as the Lord of their lives. Would you
just express to Him your desire for Him to do this in your life? He will hear your cry for Him, He will make the
difference that you desire.