Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”— for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
Food For Thought:
This demon business isn’t something we talk about as modern Christian believers. In Old Testament times, there was no understanding of ailments like bipolar illness and schizophrenia. So they would say that people had experienced demons. Jesus comes to this man and heals him of his ailment, and he goes from there to proclaim the amazing way that Jesus had worked in his life. I have to admit that I am reticent about sharing all the ways that Jesus has worked in my life. I don’t want to make people uncomfortable, but being a Christian is about “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.” Today I want to encourage you to think of a time in which God has worked powerfully in your life and I want you to share that with at least one other person.
God of fresh beginnings,
you make all things new
in the wisdom of Jesus Christ.
Make us agents of your transforming power
and heralds of your reign of justice and peace,
that all may share in the healing Christ brings. Amen.
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