Jesus Heals the Gerasene Demoniac
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; and the unclean spirits begged him, “Send us into the swine; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.
This story and the one that follows tomorrow are some of the scariest, strangest stories in the Gospels. The story today is especially so – the man possessed with the legion of demons sounds like what we saw in movies like the Exorcist – wild behavior, crazy actions, scary words. What really stuck me here as well was that the demons recognize Jesus for who he was – “Son of the most high God”. While the story talks about the demons speaking through the man, I wonder about how he was feeling – was he aware of what was happening, was it like actions were going on that he had no power over? Was he begging for Jesus to set him free?
So as I thought about today, I thought about how I could represent something where the cross was seen – Jesus was recognized but it was not clear and had a bit of an edge to it. I find that in my life when I really lose sight of God, I never totally miss where God is, but my sight is diminished, distracted, and can feel crazy. And there have been times in life where I have felt like I could see the Christ ahead, but there was no way I could reach him.