Learning About Jesus — Lesson 6
Jesus Offers God's Blessing
When Jesus was on earth he offered people God’s blessing and help. The Gospel tells us that Jesus has now returned to heaven, and still offers God’s blessing to people today.
In this lesson we will look at two passages which show us more about the ways Jesus helped people in need. First, read Luke 7:11-17.
11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out-- the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry." 14 Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people." 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
Now, please read Luke 8:26-39.
26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!" 29 For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. 30 Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. 32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. 34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 "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.
The Woman Who Had Lost All She Had
In Luke 7:11-17 we read that one day Jesus visited Nain, a small town in northern Palestine. Here he met a widow.
Life was especially hard for widows in those days. A widow did not have a husband to provide for her. If she had children, however, especially sons, there might still be some hope for the future.
1. Why was the widow crying?
2. How did Jesus feel when he saw the widow’s grief?
3. Do you think that Jesus’ feelings show us something about how God felt toward the widow?
4. What did Jesus do for the widow?
5. When the people who were there saw what Jesus had done, what did they say about God?
The Man Who Was Bound In Chains
In Luke 8:26-39 we read about what happened one day when Jesus met a man who was demon-possessed. Because of this man’s wild and violent behavior, people tried to bind his hands and feet with chains. He was so strong that he was able to break these chains and escape — but that did not mean that he was free.
It is possible for a person’s soul to be bound in chains, even when his body can move about freely. This happens when a person falls so deeply under the influence of Satan that he can no longer freely decide for himself what is best to do. Instead there is a demon in control. What are demons? They are evil spirits under the direction of Satan. To fall under their control is a tragedy even greater than being bound physically.
Jesus was not willing to leave the man in this condition. The man, or the demons within him, recognized that a moment of battle was about to begin. It may help to explain a few words:
"Mob" (this word is sometimes translated as "legion") means a large crowd of people. When the man said his name was "Mob" he meant that it was as if he were many different personalities at the same time, because there were many demons inside him.
"Abyss" refers to a place of imprisonment and punishment for the demons.
"Pigs" were considered to be unclean animals. Those who followed the laws that had been given to Moses did not eat them or touch them. But Jesus was now in a region to the east of Galilee where most people neither knew nor followed the Law of Moses.
6. Who had the greater power, Jesus or the demons?
7. What changes took place in the man?
8. What did the man want to do when Jesus left?
9. What did Jesus tell him to do instead?
This man had fallen under the control of demons to an extreme degree. But people can fall under Satan’s influence in other ways — perhaps not as visible but nevertheless real — as he fills their minds with temptations and lies.
10. Do you think that Jesus has the power to set people free from Satan’s influence today?
Go to Lesson 7