The story of Jesus voyage across the Sea of Galilee to meet with a demoniac is so important and memorable that it appears in all three Synoptic Gospels( Mk 5:1 -2 1, Mt 8: 28 -3 4, where the report contains two demoniacs; Lk 8: 28 -3 9 ). Today we have Luke’s narrative. In each, the narrative is made differently, but since Luke is our Lectio Divina for the working day, let’s stick with Luke. We know that Jesus has been accused of being possessed by a wizard, and his family is concerned enough to try to take him home( See Mk 3:21 -2 2; Mt 12:23 -2 4; Lk 11 :: 14 -1 6 ). This episode is preceded by Jesus’ refusal to see his mother, saying his family “are those who hear the word of God and do it.”, and soothing the cyclone at sea( Lk 8: 19 -2 5 ). And followed by the woman with the bleeding and the grow of Jairus’s daughter — two legends of ability, one of healing and another, the return to life and light( Lk 8: 40 -5 3 ).
Jesus skippers to the shore of Gerasene where he is met by a human, who drops-off at his hoofs. A naked boy naked, perhaps bleeding from where he had broken the series that had tied him. A humanity who had just run to meet Jesus from the mausoleums where he lived. A lover owned. Jesus words the wizards to come forth, but they reason with Jesus. Recognizing Jesus as the Son of the Most High God, they beg Jesus not to harass them. They identify themselves as Legion, and crave not to be sent back to the pit. They affect a deal with Jesus, and enroll a herd of animals, who run into the sea and drown. By the time the frenzied swineherds arrive, the three men is draped and in his right mind. Not grateful that this man is no longer a problem, the issue is scared of the person who is mended him. And, incidentally, drowned their livestock. They entreat Jesus to leave. And what of our somebody? He begs to be with Jesus. But Jesus sends him dwelling to tell how much Jesus had done for him.
The narrations are themselves Legion. A social and political make points out that a Roman Legion is a military unit of about six thousand men, and, likewise, Gerasene was the situation of a Roman kill by the Legio 10 th Fretensis, whose standard displayed a boar, or pig. And that furthers the idea that Luke is the social justice Gospel. While that may be true, I suggest that this is a distraction from something deeper. I am responsible for ensuring that pigs can swim. But these possessed swine may be stand-ins for Pharaoh’s drowned horde of men and mares. Or a scapegoat for the unholy need of sorrow shown to this man.
Another tack taken by reporters is that the goal was to make this man safe to be reunited with his family and community. I suggest that the text offers a far more complex spiritual goal.
Finally, the modernist viewpoint is that this man had a mental illness. This is usually followed by a discourse on the stupidity of ancient people who denounced mental illness on demons, and how the modern theories of psychology and narcotic intervention are a marvel. While these conjectures have a place, I disagree that such is the lesson here. We are devoted to a triune God, one persona of which is a Spirit. Spiritual troops exist. If they did not, Jesus of Nazareth would be nothing more than a sometimes wise, sometimes riling, itinerate preacher with delusions of grandeur. No, Jesus was neither a wince nor a pharma representative.
First, why did Jesus take this craft trip? He seems to have come for this one man, naked, brutal, abandoning normal life to live in the caves of the dead. And periodically running off into the desert. John the Baptizer wore little but animal scalps, and lived bumpy. Immediately after Jesus was inducted by John, he was driven into the desert for 40 eras, and wrestled with the king of wizards, Satan. And in Christian history, St. Jerome, St. Anthony, and even St. Benedict, before he founded a celibate community, all left society to live ascetic lives alone. And so did the desert papas and fathers. Many of them wrestled with wizards as they removed the world of the flesh for the world of the atmosphere. And what of St. Francis, who gave up everything and divested himself naked in the middle of a neat refined Italian metropolitan, and rebutted a bellow from God to serve the poor. No, this worker wasn’t crazy. He was, surely, possessed, possessed by God. But he was neither a Jew or a Samaritan, both of which prayed to the Most High God. We don’t know much about what his parties trusted, but somehow God stroked him, and drove him out to find God. And wrestle with demons, and probably angels as well. And that may well be what called Jesus to make this single intent travel to the far shore. To dismiss the supremacy of the Spirit and to blame greater influence to modern conjectures about normality is to turn from the capability of God and toward our human superpower. This crazy needed Jesus , not merely to banish beasts, but to guide him, one chosen by his Father, but without a educator, without an advocate, without an understanding community. “It is a dreadful thing to fall I into the entrusts of the living God”( Hebrews 10:31 ). Jesus came to claim him and direct his vocation.
When the townspeople saw this man draped and sitting at the paws of a rabbi, and had seen what had happened to the man, and, most importantly, to their boars, they only both afraid and angry. Who was this stranger, and we don’t demand his nature now. And exactly what we we to do with this regenerated being now? Can we trust him? We hear such things on the streets of our polarized nation today. The healed gentleman be asked to “be with” Jesus , not only be done away with with him. But Jesus recognized that he is already with him. And Jesus renders him a harder undertaking. Go and spread the Gospel. In Mark, it is not just at home, but in all of the ten immense cities of the Decapolis. He is charged to be a servant of Christ. It won’t be easy. He won’t have a companion, or the months or years of wandering with Jesus. But Jesus knows his soul. This male is bound to Jesus , not just in grateful, but in love, in ability, in submission. And he acts as he is charged, exclaiming what has been done for him. And what has been done? Just a quick fix, self-discipline from unsocial demeanor? Or a programme designed for a remedy? My is refer such-and-such, and I am a recovering demoniac? I don’t think so. I consider a being for whom the enjoy of God has been disclosed, but without Jesus he couldn’t sort it out, and was demon food. Now, in the living Christ, that ardour so patronizes him that all he wants to do is serve that affection.
Today, for those of us caught up in the passionate desire of God, our decree of that passion isn’t easy. Even most of our Christian neighbours would rather embrace the good works of social right or modern science or normal adjusted life, better than good things, without first answering the call to bond with God through the Spirit, and to alliance with each other through that same Character. That is what our Baptismal vows are all about, our pledges of religious life, our vows in ordination. We reject the greater reality of the world of the Spirit at our jeopardy, and the jeopardy of all countries of the world. Our good example may well be the demoniac, whom Jesus searched out not only to heal, but to set free in his Glowing.
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