When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with you, Jesus, you Son of God most high? I beseech you, torment me not.
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Ambrose of Milan
We know that in the Gospel according to Matthew, two men attacked by demons met Christ in the country of the Gerasenes. Here St. Luke introduces one such man as naked. Whoever has lost the covering of his nature and virtue is naked. I think that we should not idly disregard but seek the reason why the Evangelists seem to disagree about the number. Although the number disagrees, the mystery agrees. A man who has an evil spirit is a figure of the Gentile people, covered in vices, naked to error, vulnerable to sin.
In his sepulchral prison the savage demon had broken. Fetters of iron that bound him; he darts forth and kneels before Jesus. But the Lord sets the man free and orders the devil to madden. Herds of the swine and to plunge with them into the depths of the vast sea.
When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before Him. S. Mark (chap. v6), adds, "And when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him," i.e. bent the knee before Him. Because he felt the power of Christ"s presence, and was therefore compelled to draw nigh and worship Him, for fear lest, if he acknowledged not the Lord, he might receive greater punishment; and again, Christ caused him to act thus in order that an opportunity might be afforded for his cure.
Son of God most high. It would seem that the devil, who in the temptation had not recognised Christ, now after so many miracles acknowledged Him to be the Messiah, the Son of God; yet, blinded by pride and hatred, he hesitated to believe that the Son of God had stooped to take upon Him our flesh, and thought it impossible that by His death upon the Cross the whole human race could be redeemed, because, as Aquinas remarks, in many ways God had hindered him from recognising, the truth. See S. Mark 4:12.
Torment me not. Do n...
Christ asked him and commanded him to tell what his name was. He said, “Legion,” because many devils had entered him. Did Christ ask this because he did not know it, and like one of us, wished to learn something that had escaped him? Is it not perfectly absurd for us to say or imagine any thing like this? Being God, he knows all things and searches the hearts and inner parts. He asked for the plan of salvation’s sake, that we might learn that a great crowd of devils shared the one soul of the man, giving birth a wretched and impure madness in him. He was their work. They certainly are wise to do evil, as the Scripture says, but they have no knowledge to do good. Commentary on Luke, Homily
The Gerasene, or rather the herd of demons lying concealed within him, fell down before Christ’s feet, saying, “What is there between me and you, Jesus, Son of God Most High? I beseech you, do not torment me.” I ask you to observe here the mixture of fear with great audacity and conceited pride. The words which he is forced to shout are coupled with inflated haughtiness! It is a proof of the pride of the enemy that he ventures to say, “What is there between me and you, Jesus, Son of God Most High?” You certainly know that he is the Son of God Most High…. I beseech you to again observe the incomparable majesty of Christ who transcends all. With irresistible might and unequalled authority he crushes Satan by simply willing that it should be. Commentary on Luke, Homily
This is not a voluntary confession, which merits a reward, but a forced acknowledgment, extorted against their wills. Like fugitive servants, who, when they meet their masters, think of nothing but of deprecating punishment. The devils think our Lord is come down upon earth to judge them. (St. Jerome)
The torment from which this devil desires to be freed, is the pain and affliction he would suffer by being forced to yield to the power of Christ, in leaving the man; not the general torment of hell, to which he knew he was unchangeably and irrevocably condemned. He was also tormented with the fear, lest he should be now consigned to those eternal pains before his time, as it is expressed in St. Matthew. For, though the evil spirits are unavoidably condemned, and already suffer the chief torments of hell, yet the rigorous fulfilment of all is deferred to the day of judgment. (Jansenius, conc. Evang.)
Did not the devils know the real nature of this name? It is fitting that the heretics should be found guilty, not by the teachings of the apostles but by the mouth of demons. The latter often exclaim, “What have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” The truth drew out this reluctant confession, and being forced to obey, their grief testifies to the strength of this nature. This power overcomes them, since they abandon bodies that they have possessed for a long time. They pay their tribute of honor when they acknowledge the nature of Christ. In the meantime, Christ testifies that he is the Son by his miracles as well as by his name. O heretic, where do you find the name of a creature or the favor of an adoption among those words by which the demons admit who he is? On the Trinity