A Man Named Legion!
During the three short years Jesus preached, He performed many miracles (sometimes called “signs”). These signs were done not only to help people, but also to prove that He was really the Son of God. They were demonstrations of His great power, but they also showed His great compassion for people who were in desperate need.
Luke 8:26-39 tells us about one particular day when Jesus taught crowds of people and performed miracles until He was completely exhausted. That evening He and the apostles sailed to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to get some rest. But when they arrived at the eastern shore of the Sea, they were immediately met by “a man with an unclean spirit” (or “demon”). In fact, the man had so many unclean spirits that he was called “Legion” (legion was a division of the Roman army of 6,000 men). He was violent and very strong, so strong that even chains could not hold him. He was a danger to others and to himself. He could not even live near anyone else; he had to live away from people in what we would call a graveyard.
In spite of the evil spirits, Legion saw Jesus a long way off and ran to worship Him. The poor man knew Jesus was God’s Son, and the demons knew too! (see James 2:19). The unclean spirits even called Jesus the “Son of the Most High God.” The demons also knew that Jesus would heal the poor man by sending them out of him. The spirits begged Jesus to send them into a nearby herd of pigs—about 2,000 of them—instead of sending them to the “abyss.” [“Abyss” means “bottomless pit.”] The demons went into the heard of pigs who immediately went wild, just like poor Legion had been. The pigs rushed down a steep hill into the sea and drowned.
The man who had been saved from the constant torment of evil spirits became calm and “in his right mind.” He was eager to learn more about Jesus and to tell others what Jesus had done for him. But the people of the nearby town were afraid. Instead of being happy that this poor man was in good health again, they asked Jesus to go away. They let their fear keep them from listening to the Son of God.