Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time 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 desert.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.
When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and 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. And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from 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.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
Comment: Let’s look at the back ground of the story.
- The man they met at the shore – naked, demon possessed, living among dead men’s tombs.
- The background – he’d often been caught and chained up but had broken free under the power of the demons, which possessed him.
- Falling at Jesus feet he cries out – ‘Son of the Most High God, why are you here? Don’t distress me!’
- ‘What’s your name?’ ‘Legion’ (the word as used in a large group of soldiers. There were many demons in him.) Jesus barked ‘Get out of him!’
- ‘We don’t want to go back into that hellish abyss, let us live in the pigs over there.’
- This was a very short term answer as the pigs now possessed by the demons, ran off a nearby cliff and were drowned.
- The pigs’ herdsmen fled into the city to the owners of the pigs and told the story.
Not caring for the man, nor praising God for the man’s healing, the whole community asked Jesus to leave them and go away. Were they upset at the loss of their pigs and hence their living? Did they see it as a miracle but liked their present way of life? The record doesn’t tell us, but Jesus and His cohort left ‘the legion having been routed’. The man, who now obviously needed a new name wanted to go with his ‘saviour’, but was told to stay and everywhere tell his story – which he did.
And what a glorious story to share!
Prayer: If I’ve got a story worth sharing please help me to tell it, graciously and powerfully!