5 August 2015

Luke 8:22-39

“What is your name?” (v. 30)

Psalm: Psalm 62


Luke has just told the Parable of the Sower which speaks of the patience and generosity of God the sower of the seeds of the Gospel. Now we are told stories of unexpected places where that seed is taking root - in the life of the man who tells Jesus his name is Legion, who is possessed by demons, and a leader of the synagogue and the woman with the issue of blood (verses 40-56). All of these people recognise who Jesus is and believe that he can help them.

Jesus asks the demon possessed man his name, and the crowd seem to be shocked by the question. The man has been shouting and raging, and into this wild clamour Jesus speaks, "What is your name?" The question humanises the man and gives him some dignity. He has been naked, alone, bound by chains and beaten like an angry dog for many years. Did he ever have a name?

Although the man cannot remember what those who once loved him called him, Jesus puts down a marker, he wants to restore this man to full humanity. Jesus wants to know the man's name because he can see beyond the raving into the heart of the human being and is moved by compassion to make him well.

This is an amazing story and just as in the story of the calming of the storm (verses 22-25), Jesus is able to control the wind and the waves, here he dispels the man's turmoil and brings him peace. So then why were people afraid when they saw what Jesus had done (verses 34-38)? He had transformed a man's life and brought peace and calm where there have been turmoil and terror. Perhaps the people were afraid of how Jesus might transform their lives if they put their trust in him as Legion had? 

To Ponder

  • There is a wonderful depiction of the story of the calming of the storm in the Methodist Modern Art Collection. What new insights does this give you into the story?
  • What is the key message coming out of this passage for you today?

Bible notes author

The Revd Diane Clutterbuck

Diane is an ordained presbyter in the Methodist Church. She works as as a coach, supervisor and trainer mainly in the public and voluntary sectors with people and organisations who are committed to growth and development.