Jesus Walks on the Sea - Lesson 3
Find the Gospel in the Story
In Luke 24, Jesus taught his disciples that every story in the Bible points directly to him! He explained that we simply need to look for the gospel pattern of “suffering followed by glory.” That is, we need to look for something that points to his suffering on the cross, followed by something that points to the glory of his resurrection! Use the gospel chart below to help you find “the story within the story!”
The Suffering & Glory of Legion
The Suffering & Glory of Jesus
1. A man of Gadara was oppressed by many demons, so he was called Legion (the name of a Roman unit of military) (Mark 5:9).
1. Pilate condemned Jesus and handed him over to a cohort (the name of a Roman unit of military) of soldiers who would oppress him (Mark 15:16).
2. A demonized man who dwelt in the tombs came to Jesus (Mark 5:2).
2. Jesus, who was condemned by Pilate, was destined for the tomb (Mark 15:44-46).
3. Legion cried out in his torment, cutting his own flesh with stones (Mark 5:5).
3. Jesus suffered the torture and mockery of the soldiers. They scourged Jesus, the whip embedded with sharp stones which cut his flesh (Mark 15:15).
4. Legion knelt down before Jesus and worshipped him (Mark 5:6). The demonized man was naked (Luke 8:27).
4. The soldiers stripped Jesus naked (Mark 15:17-20). Then they knelt down before him, pretending to worship him (Mark 15:19).
5. Jesus commanded the demons to leave the man (Mark 5:12-13).
5. After Pilate gave the body of Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea, the Savior was never again touched by wicked hands (Mark 15:42-46; cf. Isa 53:9).
6. The townspeople came and found the formerly demonized man sitting and clothed and in his right mind (Mark 5:15).
6. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples clothed (cf. John 20:24-28), and was destined to be seated at the Right Hand of God (Mark 14:62).
7. Jesus commanded Legion to proclaim how the Lord had healed him in all the Gentile region of the Decapolis (Mark 5:19-20).
7. Jesus commanded his disciples who had been healed by his great salvation to go into all the world, proclaiming the gospel to all the nations (Matt 28:19-20).
Gospel Study Notes
The healing of Legion is a complete picture of the gospel healing of Jesus that reaches from suffering to glory. The poor man is demonized, his extreme suffering of nakedness, crying out in torment, and self-cutting against a background of the uncleanness of dwelling among the tombs highlights the degree of desperation that a lost soul can suffer. His saving encounter with Jesus transforms him gloriously, where he is found clothed, sitting at rest from torment, and in his sane mind once again.
The demonized man called himself “Legion” because he was possessed by so many invincible demons that he was a virtual fortress of pandemonium. The name “Legion” is a large unit of Roman military. As such, it anticipates the Savior handed over to a demonized “cohort” of soldiers, another unit of Roman military, who were to torment him in his suffering.
The cohort treated Jesus like the legion of demons had treated the man. Jesus was stripped naked. He was consigned to the tomb, and so there was nothing to restrain the wickedness of the soldiers in their “sport” with the “King of the Jews.” Jesus was scourged, and the scourge was embedded with sharp rocks that tore his flesh. It is implied that the torture caused the Savior to cry out and in his extremity of pain, virtually lose his sanity.
Legion had come to Jesus in his nakedness and knelt before him in worship. The worship was certainly genuine, a desperate gesture of hope for healing. But it anticipated the cohort soldiers who knelt is a mocking posture of obeisance, pretending to worship the naked king of the Jews.
Jesus commanded the legion of demons to leave the man. They entered into a great herd of swine who were crazed and so rushed off a cliff to their death in the sea (Luke 8:33). Luke reserves the word “rush” from the Gospel to describe the frenzied crowd that rushed to stone Stephen (Acts 7:57). This unique word is a commentary on the similarity of the martyrdom of Stephen and the death of Jesus. The crowd who rushed against Stephen is compared to the “demonized swine” who afflicted Legion and the cohort who tormented Jesus.
The glory that followed the suffering of Legion was described in language that anticipated the glory of Jesus’ resurrection (clothed) and heavenly session on the throne of David (seated and in his right mind). What followed the resurrection, according to the pattern of the gospel stated by Jesus, was the proclamation of the word of salvation among the nations (cf. Luke 24: 46-47).
We see in the torment of Legion the full enmity of the demonic forces of darkness against each of us. This then is the measure of the Savior’s love for us, that he was willing to endure “such contradiction of sinners against himself” on our behalf. He suffered nakedness in order to clothe us with righteousness. He suffered infernal torture that he might deliver us from hell. He suffered the condemnation of wretchedness in order that he might win our release from the wretchedness of our condemnation. He suffered the destiny of the tomb in order to deliver us from our destiny of death. When Jesus saw the pitiful and desperate state of the man called Legion, he saw the price he would have to pay to win our redemption. And still be counted us worthy of his love. Surely there is no greater love than this! What a Savior!
Dr. Warren A. Gage © 2022