Demoniac narratives - ASCM Bible study 21 March 2013


21 March, 2013


Bible Study notes

Study led by Rev Dr Sandy Yule

The story about Jesus healing the Gerasene Demoniacs

We compared the similar narratives from Matthew 8:28-8:34, Mark 5:1-20 & Luke 8:26-39


-          It’s likely that Mark’s version inspired both the ones from Matthew and Luke.



Matthew 8:28-8:34

Mark 5:1-20

Luke 8:26-39




Description of the man


-          So fierce

-          A man

-          With unclean spirit

-          He lived among the tombs, and no one could restrain him anymore, even with a chain, for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces, and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones.

-          5:3-5:5

-          After healing

-          Clothed and in his right mind



-          A man with demons

-          For a long time he had worn no clothes, did not live in a house but in the tombs 8:26

-          Was driven by the demon(8:29b)

1.      Do we know people like this? Disturbed and different, and unable/refusing to be ‘çontrolled’ by society’s demands [clothing and housing, such basic needs, define his differences from ‘normal’ people]. What is our response to them? Try to change them because we think they are 'wrong', think we know best what's good for them, so refuse to accept their choice of way of life?

2.      Why did the man live in the tombs?

Because the magic that he used to gain power came from the dead? OR Because he’s mentally ill OR He’d been exiled?

Description of the evil spirits

Two demoniacs

Only one; Unclean spirit

-One demoniac again,

-unclean spirits


What are the evil spirits today? Corporate greed? Lust for personal power? Fanaticism? Righteousness in a narrow sense.

Number of Legion


Many (refer 5:9) ,

Maybe two thousand, as there were two thousand swine

Plural, many

To name the problem is the beginning and sometimes the most powerful tool in solving that problem. Are we able to name our 'legion'?

Conversation with Jesus


Asked two questions; AND Jesus said only one word: “Go”

-          Yes, very detailed, every action /conversation is described. AND most interesting is that Jesus failed the first time he tried to drive the evil spirits out.



Do words solve problems or sometimes cloud them and confuse us?
Failure is not necessarily a negative thing, sometimes it is what spurs us on, sometimes it points out to us what we're not doing right and gives us time for reflection.

Where the evil spirits are driven to




Comment: to be driven into the swine = permanent eradication, no chance of being ‘revived’. Abyss = possibility of re-surfacing from the very deep perhaps subconscious.



2 Demoniacs,


The whole town

Jesus and his disciples (they)

A man

Unclean spirits



Jesus and his disciples (they),


Why did the Gerasenes ask Jesus to leave ?

The herd of swine rushing down to the lake and drowning – a symbol of total economic loss?


Area the swine herd went to


The city and the country

The city and the country

Relevant? Maybe not, but good for us to think about how to decipher what is important in the Bible and what is not so significant. Not every inspired word is required for our Christian lives.