April 17, 2016 Sunday School Commentary
Lesson Guide, FAITH Series
Devotional Reading: Philippians 2:1-11 Highlighted Text – Luke 8:26-36
Key Verse – “They went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid” (Luke 8:35, KJV).
As an active mental health advocate, I frequently educate on mood disorders or mental illnesses that affects millions of people. Those affected come from various backgrounds: cultures, ages, race and economic statues. There is a plethora of reasons why one is ill in his or her mind. Even so, in most cases, it derives from a spiritual issue. I learned at a young age that demonic forces are real. They are still present today. The enemy has done such a good job of distracting Believers that we no longer take authority over them as we should. God has declared that we have a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) and throughout the Bible, including in today’s lesson, we see him exercising his authority and power over spirits that work in opposition. May you be reminded today of God’s promises and power given to you.
One again, Jesus travels with intent at purpose. This setting takes place in the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. As Jesus started towards the land, he was approached by a man who suffered mentally and spiritually. He was in such a deranged state, that he had on no clothes and lived within tombs. The evil spirit that possessed the man recognized who Jesus was and begged Jesus not to torment him. The same spirit that had been tormenting the man for years was now begging Jesus not to torment him!
Point to Ponder: Are you able to discern evil spirits when you come in contact with people and how do you respond to them?
Jesus exercised his authority and commanded the demon to come out of the man. The reason why the demon begged Jesus not to torment him was because he knew that Jesus was going to send him to the bottomless pit of hell. So the demon asked for Jesus to consider sending him into the herd of pigs that were nearby. For the sake of those around, Jesus asked the demon his name and said, “Legion” meaning that many devils were within the possessed man. Jesus cast the devils out of the man and into the herd, causing the pigs to rush off of a cliff into the lake, choke and drown.
Point to Ponder: When you encounter people who have bad attitudes, an evil heart or obviously not in their right minds, do you just ignore or pass them by out of frustration or fear?
The men that were tending to the pigs witnessed the miracle that Jesus had performed with the previously demon-possessed man. They ran and told the town what had happened. When they returned with the townspeople, they saw that the man who had been out of his mind; screaming, naked and rambling was now calm and in his right mind. He was resting at the foot of Jesus. The people were fearful of the man after Jesus delivered him, but didn’t seem to be bothered by him in this way when he was demon possessed.
Point to Ponder: Have you been around evil spirits so long that they seem normal to you or you are immune to them?
We have all encountered people suffering from different mental illnesses. On any given day, we ourselves may suffer from mild depression or grief. Regardless how minor or major, these are still considered mental illnesses because our minds are not well. When we allow them to go untreated either by exercising our spiritual authority and/or seeking professional help, they will end up in a tragic state. Right now, I urge you to remember the authority and power that you possess. This does not man you go up to every lunatic and start laying hands on them. The Holy Ghost not only gives us power, but also wisdom. He will show you how to operate when you encounter one who is suffering from mental illnesses or demon possessed. You must know the authority and power you have and not be afraid to use it. If you are not confident in your authority, demons will overtake you and your household. Pray for God to strengthen you in this area so that evil spirits will be begging you and you won’t be fearful of them. Be set free in JESUS NAME!
Commentary by, Evangelist Shulanda Hastings
Senior Ministry Leader
Spirit Realm Divine Manifestation Ministries