Mistaken Identity


  1. Message:  When Jesus went to the region of the Gerasenes he met the man possessed by demons. The man initially ran toward Jesus and bowed before him, but then he screeched at Jesus saying “why are you interfering with us?!”We have no idea what the man’s name is because when Jesus asked the man his name, the demons once again spoke on his behalf and said his name was “Legion because we are many”. It really struck me that this man’s bondage had so consumed his life that it literally became his identity and the demons were so large and in charge that they were the ones speaking and acting on his behalf. The other thing that really struck me about this story is how much the townspeople normalized this man’s issues. He was so out of control that he couldn’t live civilly. Since he could no longer be restrained by chains and shackles he lived in the cemetery, but for some reason when Jesus cast out his demons and they saw him clothed and sitting in his right mind it scared them so badly that they pleaded with Jesus to go away and leave them alone. This seems like such a strange response! Why wouldn’t they be happy for this man who was now able to go home to his family?
  2. Command: Stop letting the bondage speak or act on our behalf!
  3. Promise: There is no water (or barrier) that Jesus has not already crossed to set us free, and he will not be moved by the “townspeople” of our lives who fear our freedom.
  4. Warning: Don’t let the areas of our lives that have held us captive become our identity. We are not our sin issues, and we are not the product of things that happened to us.
  5. Application: I see the application in so many ways here. We all have things in our lives that control us. It could be a bad memory, a pattern of abuse, an addiction, a victim mentality, an illness, a behavioral trait…the list is endless and some of them can seem more innocent or “normal” to us. Like the townspeople in this story, there are people in our lives who are resistant to our deliverance and change. When we change it throws off the balance that people in our lives are used to. The change brings insecurity to other people and exposes what is broken inside them. I carried many of these labels for years and I wasn’t really aware that they were speaking on my behalf and running my life. I still have a lot of things to work out but one of the most important questions I started asking myself was “how would a healthy person respond?” I don’t want to be known for my issues or my traumas so I’m continually asking God to help me process through all of it layer by layer.

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