After Christ healed the man possessed by the legion of devils, the man desired to travel with Christ and sought to always be with him. But Jesus answered by saying :

 Luke 8:39 (KJV)

"Return to your own house, and show how great things God has done to you". And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done to him.

Jesus said tell the people the great things God had done, but it kind of looks like the healed man understood Jesus to be God. Did Jesus call himself God here?

  • Just to be clear it's the narrator (Luke) who associates Jesus and God here. Jesus's statement alone wouldn't make that association.
    – adam.baker
    Dec 26, 2017 at 11:13
  • No, Luke is recording what the healed man did. Luke is not adding his own opinion. He is recording that the healed man proclaimed what Jesus did for him after he was instructed to say what God did for him. So one can say that he understood Jesus to be God. Or that Jesus was including himself when he said "tell them the things God did for you" meaning the things I did or we did for you.
    – diego b
    Dec 26, 2017 at 15:40
  • It doesn't say what the healed man said. Perhaps he only said "Jesus did this for me" and Luke is the one identifying the two. (I don't mean to make a big thing about this.)
    – adam.baker
    Dec 27, 2017 at 2:58

4 Answers 4


One might be justified in saying that it is a fallacy to assert that one who does works which God also does is himself God (unless it's explicit that someone cannot do them with God's help). I believe this is unassailable. But in this case and context, especially in light of the Markan parallel (Mk 5:19-20) which is identical in meaning semantically, it is clear the author is, in subtle manner, conflating God and Christ on purpose (similar to the worship of Christ in certain doxological prayers usually reserved for only God, as can be seen from many examples: e.g. 2 Pet 3:18; cf. Phil 4:20; see also Jude 1:25): the immediacy of the conflation is what suggests its intentionality.

It would be exceedingly sloppy or misleading, and insufferably presumptuous for an evangelist to record how Jesus said God did this to the man, only to go on to summarize His words contrary to His own in only one respect: replacing 'God' for 'Jesus.' Unless of course jesus is God.

Besides this, Luke without doubt believes Jesus is YHVH. Apart from writing that He is "the Son of the Most High" (Lk 1:32—'Son' denoting not adoptive sonship, since it was this typification which He came to fulfill, but eternal generation from the Father: "I came forth from God" Jn 16:28—itself language established for God's "wisdom" which says virtually the same thing: "I came forth from the mouth of the Most High" Sirach 24:3—cf. Jn 5:18) who became incarnate through "a virgin," (Lk 1:26-27) he explicitly does so in quoting, for example, Isaiah 40:3 as fulfilled in John the Baptist: where of course, John the Baptist is preparing the way for Jesus, whom in Isaiah 43 is called "YHVH."

And many other examples (e.g. Acts 3:15; 20:28).

What hot-headed people denying the divinity of Christ are sometimes not prepared to accept is the intricate and delicate nature of this precious doctrine: here we are saying a man is an actual man, yet He is at the same time equally so the God of all creation, the Lord of Glory, who made all things, and apart from whom not one thing was made to that exists. He is a "son of man" (a human being), yet He does what only God does: He "[comes on the clouds of heaven," Dn 7:13 an established perogative of God Almighty alone, as particular to Him and as a mark of His being above all creation).

It's understandable why there are careful and relatively few direct, explicit references to His divnity, and a plentitude of evidence that He is divine, that is, God, which, while implicit (if we can justly call it implicit) is overwhelming (for one example—not recieving a staff from God and separating waters, but simply commanding the water to be still and the storm to cease: yet another Old Testament perogative of God Almighty, YHVH Ps 107:23-29).

  • A fine comment! Only the phrase: "One might be justified in saying that it is a fallacy to assert that one who does works which God also does is himself God" - but no justification is legitimate, if that one who works "everything" what God does, and even more, who says that he is unable to do "anything" out of himself (John 5:19), but only what God does, by this he necessarily affirms that neither God is able do anything without him, and therefore activity of both God and him are the same, as, e.g., activity of the sun and its rays, or a magnet and its magnetism. I wrote in my post on this. Dec 26, 2017 at 7:59

To understand that scripture there is need to look at it from the context of other scripture. In another scripture he Says it was the Father in Him who was doing the works:

John 14:10,11

10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

From the rest of the scripture we understanding it was God in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:19

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

It was the work of God through the urgency of a human vessel, in His office as Saviour. So the scripture can be viewed from different perspective to mean Jesus was God or that Jesus was a servant of God. Both perspectives are correct and have scriptural backing.

  • jesus said HE only performed one sign; that of Jonah. The rest were not performed by him to make people believe: he taught in parables so they wouldn't. The rest occurred in subtle pictures of the cross that he participated in to show he had accepted his call, and the miracles performed by the Father to encourage him onward. In this, he was the ultimate prophet, and just as the prophets, did nothing in his own strength. He only did what he saw the Father doing.
    – Bob Jones
    Dec 25, 2017 at 16:49
  • Yes also in acts Peter says God did many signs and wonders though Christ. I'm not denying that. Good answer but doesn't answer why the healed man proclaimed what Jesus did, when he was instructed to say what God did for him. Seems he understood Jesus to be God along with the Father
    – diego b
    Dec 25, 2017 at 19:45

Also Mark 5:19-20:

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

As the text shows I think, Jesus neither calls nor does not call Himself God, but in both Gospel accounts discourages the man from attributing the miracle to Him, Jesus, personally.

The point of this particular pericope is, I think, to illustrate Jesus' example of humility. Theophylact comments on this:

The Lord says to him, Return to thine own house, and tell what great things God hath done unto thee. By not saying, "what great things I have done unto thee," the Lord gives us an example of humility and teaches us that we should attribute all our accomplishments to God. And even though the Lord had commanded him to tell what things God had done for him, he told instead what things Jesus had done for him, so great was his gratitude.

* Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke (tr. from the Greek; Chrysostom Press, 1997), p.91

  • Mark 5 doesn't deny the fact that the healed man seems to understand that Jesus is both Lord and God. Your answer didn't explain why the healed man told the people the great things Jesus did for him, even tho Jesus told him to tell them the great things God did for him.
    – diego b
    Dec 25, 2017 at 19:43

The context of the miracle of expulsion of demons from a man indicate both divine authority of Jesus, His Divinity or God-ness, and at the same time His difference from God-the-Father, for even the demons worship Him, ῾falling in front of Him῾ (προσέπεσεν; Mark has it "worshiped Him" - προσεκύνησεν /Mark5:6/) and call Him in the same episode the "Son of the Most High God" (Luke 8:28). Thus the demons both tremblingly and in awe give Him the same worship as befits to God, affirming in this way His equality, equal authority and sovereignty with His Father, and, at the same time, distinguish Him (the Son) from Him (the Father).

They, the demons, recognized the full divine authority in Him because He did not ask God in prayers that the demons may be expelled from the afflicted man, but even before demons started supplicating Him, with His sovereign authority Jesus commanded them (παρήγγειλεν) to go out from the man. Such an authority is not a province of even the highest of the angels, for the angels, first, are not worshiped by demons, and second, cannot command directly demons, but only by addressing to the name of Lord - "but even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” /Jude 1:9/); however, Jesus as the Son of God is the one whom angels and demons - the first joyfully and the second tremblingly - worship alongside with God-the-Father.

In fact, Luke shows and tells implicitly what John tells plainly, that the Father's and the Son's divine activity is one and the same activity ("My Father acts to this day (i.e. always) and I act" (John 5:17) and “the Son can do nothing by himself: He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does" (John 5:19), and the same is true of he Father also: as He is totally impotent to create world without His ever-existing Logos, for everything is created through Him (John 1:3; Col. 1:16 etc.), so also He is totally impotent to expel demons from men and thus save them, but through Jesus - the incarnate Logos (just as Jesus is unable to do this without the Father).

Now, the full divine authority and sovereignty of Jesus was understood not only by the demons, but also by the demon-possessed man himself, who, after having been cleansed from the demonic possession was made wise by God so as to see, to weigh all things and make a conclusion that since Jesus expelled demons from him not through prayers, but through His own divine sovereignty, thus it was meet and correct from his side to acknowledge His Godhead. Therefore, when Jesus commanded him to tell all what God has done to him, he told everyone what Jesus has done to him, knowing that God-the-Father could in no way expel demons from him but only through His co-Sovereign Son.

  • You seem to be saying that the fact that Jesus could expel demons means he was divine. But the apostles were given permission to expel demons, and I doubt you would consider them divine.
    – b a
    Dec 25, 2017 at 16:42
  • @b a Good point, dear b a ! That shows and means that apostles are given a greater authority than angels by the fact that they are also admitted to the sonship of God (John 1:12; 20:17) and heirship with the Only-Begotten Son; however the latter is the natural Son (that is the meaning of the "Only-Begotten"), whereas the apostles - by adoption through Christ. As He gave them authority to become sons of God (John 1:12), so also He sovereignly gave them authority to expel demons (Luke 10:19), thus, the apostles have by delegation that, which He and the Father (and Holy Spirit) have properly. Dec 25, 2017 at 18:56

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