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apologetics, Apologetics of Christ

Jesus, the Demon-Possessed Man, and Christology- Luke 8:26-39

A recent reading in church struck me because I’ve been in conversations with some who deny the deity of Christ of late. The reading was from Luke 8. Verses 38-39 are what caught my attention:

The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him (NIV).

Did you catch that? Jesus says “tell how much God has done for you.” How does the man respond? By telling what Jesus had done for him. The text goes to a different story immediately after this. There is no correction of the man’s behavior or any implication that the man did the wrong thing. Jesus tells him to speak of what God has done, and he obeys by telling what Jesus had done. Who, then, is Jesus?

One may respond by saying that Jesus is the means by which God healed the man. Thus, it was proper for the man to speak of Jesus without implying that Jesus is God. However, this misses the crucial linking of the terminology: the parallelism in “how much God has done for you” with “how much Jesus had done for him” is quite clear in both the English translation and the Greek original. This parallelism does not suggest any kind of difference between the two, or some kind of intermediary in between the two.

Thus, it appears that here in Luke we have a subtle acknowledgement of the deity of Christ.

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SDG.

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Jesus, the Demon-Possessed Man, and Christology- Luke 8:26-39

  1. Very good point. I have been seeing more and more of these little things and the cumulative amount of these coupled with the very obvious passages on Christ’s divinity leads me to one conclusion: Christ is God.

    Posted by SLIMJIM | May 22, 2017, 12:06 PM
  2. Hi J.W.,

    Wouldn’t this simply mean that this man conflated Jesus and God? Why would this mean more than that? Jesus (apparently) wasn’t anywhere near him to correct him when the man made those claims in another town. Isn’t that right?

    Posted by Timothy Henderson | May 22, 2017, 3:46 PM
    • Sure the man could have conflated the two, but then, assuming you think the Bible is inspired, the inspired author did not bother to correct this egregious error (if that’s the assumption). If you don’t think the author is inspired, and even if you do, another problem would be that the author lets it pass entirely. So the author either agrees or just doesn’t think it’s worth correcting the alleged mistaken statement.

      I think the interpretation given here seems much more likely than either scenario.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 22, 2017, 6:34 PM
      • Thanks for getting back.

        For someone not taking on the burden of defending perfect inspiration this is still a question.

        – “So the author either agrees or just doesn’t think it’s worth correcting the alleged mistaken statement.”

        Why can’t the author simply be reporting on what happened-not agreeing OR feeling the need to correct everyone’s theology he is reporting on? Would every author need to report perfect Christology, or what actually happened instead?

        This is kind of hard to understand from the outside looking in.

        Posted by Timothy Henderson | May 24, 2017, 12:26 PM
      • The book is written by a monotheistic Jew in the 1st century. Given the strictness of that same monotheism, I would think that such an author would indeed correct the man, and since explanations do occur at points in the Gospels, it would not be abnormal for the author to do so.

        Moreover, what would be the point of reporting what the man went and did if it were not of some theological significance (i.e. pointing towards Jesus as Lord)? After all, if what you’re saying is true, the author is just reporting what happened in a narrative of Jesus healing someone, and then with that narrative complete, the same author goes on to disinterestedly report that the man goes on to talk of Jesus healing him. Maybe such a sterilized narrative and disinterested narrator is abstractly possible, but I would think this is a pretty serious point worthy of much reflection by the author even assuming no inspiration.

        Indeed, such a position seems even internally inconsistent. The narrator is truly just reporting what happened without any interest; how is that even possible? The narrator is reporting an event in which a miraculous healing occurred! But that’s apparently just another day at the office for this narrator, who has no interest whatsoever in supernatural activity. I’m just not buying that.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 24, 2017, 2:06 PM
  3. Reblogged this on Cyber Penance.

    Posted by Mark Goodnight | May 27, 2017, 2:15 PM

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