Jesus frees a demon-possessed man
26 Jesus and his disciples sailed to the Gerasenes’ land, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 As soon as Jesus got out of the boat, a certain man met him. The man was from the city and was possessed by demons. For a long time, he had lived among the tombs, naked and homeless. 28 When he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down before him. Then he shouted, “ What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me! ” 29 He said this because Jesus had already commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had taken possession of him, so he would be bound with leg irons and chains and placed under guard. But he would break his restraints, and the demon would force him into the wilderness.
30 Jesus asked him, “ What is your name? ”
“ Legion, ” he replied, because many demons had entered him. 31 They pleaded with him not to order them to go back into the abyss.t32 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs. Jesus gave them permission, 33 and the demons left the man and entered the pigs. The herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned.
34 When those who tended the pigs saw what happened, they ran away and told the story in the city and in the countryside. 35 People came to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully dressed and completely sane. They were filled with awe. 36 Those people who had actually seen what had happened told them how the demon-possessed man had been delivered. 37 Then everyone gathered from the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave their area because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and returned across the lake. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged to come along with Jesus as one of his disciples. Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “ Return home and tell the story of what God has done for you. ” So he went throughout the city proclaiming what Jesus had done for him.
There is an underlying dissatisfaction with the church among many Christians. They feel a longing for something more. As you assess your own congregation, is your church filled with active believers or is it fulfilling Christ’s commission and actually producing discipled servants? We have to count more than numbers if we are truly seeking to do the redeeming work of Christ on earth.
Glover and Lavy build a scriptural foundation for discipleship by illustrating the challenging spiritual journey from unchurched to fully committed follower and identifying the primary person at each stage of spiritual development, the questions for which he or she is seeking answers, the significant relationships that will move that person forward, the obstacles he or she must overcome, and the ministries a church must have in place to intentionally help move that person forward along the spiritual continuum. They then offer a template – a discipleship pathway - that can be used by any congregation of any size in any denomination to put into place in the proper sequential order the ministries that will allow the local church to strategically move people forward toward becoming fully devoted disciples of Jesus. Churches all over the United States have begun reaping the benefits of designing and implementing their own discipleship pathways using the principles outlined in Deepening Your Effectiveness.