Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (that’s the official statement from Wikipedia). We Americans love to go boating, have picnics, watch fireworks, be with family and friends—all to celebrate our political freedom from England.
Indeed, freedom is a precious thing worth celebrating! Liberation from any form of bondage—whether internal or external—is to be celebrated.
This morning I read in my Bible the story of a great liberation. A great Man rescued a pitiful man. The pitiful man was hopelessly enslaved by supernatural evil. The story is known as “Jesus healing the demoniac” as recorded in Luke 8:26–39. Jesus got in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, sailed across with his disciples, and met a man who was inhabited by a legion of demons. He confronts the Legion, sends this host of demons into a herd of pigs. The pigs, in turn, run off a cliff and drown. After Jesus was done with this astounding rescue mission, the local people freaked out—they were afraid of Jesus and his mighty power. So Jesus simply returned to the other side.
Jesus knew this horribly enslaved man had only one hope—liberation from evil by the intervention of the Son of God.
I hope to listen to the story of this man’s liberation from supernatural evil when I get to heaven. What an Independence Day he had!
Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.
When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
(Luke 8:26-39 ESV)