Please Stay Away!

In Lent 24 by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at the country of the Gerasenes….he stepped out on land and a man of the city met him. He had been here a long time and wore no clothes, and he had no house. He also lived among the tombs. When Jesus asked him his name, the man said, ‘Legion.’ This was because he was possessed by demons.

Luke 8:26-39

Jesus encountered a demon-possessed man in the Gerasenes. This was a place that most likely lay mid-way on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. It was marked by its cliffs and caves, fitting the Gospel descriptions.

The possessed man, as a result of the demons, could not refer to himself as a single, integrated human being. Rather, he called himself “Legion because we are many.” A legion in the Roman army was over 3000 men, thus metaphorically describing how the man felt about his chaotic identity.

Two groups of beings observed the miracle of exorcism that Jesus performed. The first, of course, was the demons, basically telling Jesus to leave them alone; they knew what Jesus could do to them. But Jesus cast them out and sent them into a group of swine who ran off a cliff overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

The second group of observers was the townspeople. This group of people were hit in the pocketbook because of Jesus’ intervention in the life of Legion. The swine were their chief form of financial support, and they may have watched in horror as the swine ran pell-mell off the cliff.

Both the demons and the townspeople had similar things to say to Jesus. “Leave us alone,” and “Please leave our town,” were both versions of “we don’t want to be involved with you.” They had vested interests, and Jesus was a threat to them. They resemble the rich and empowered who do not want to pay taxes or share wealth with others, which they say they earned and no one else has a right to the wealth.

The demon-possessed man, of course, welcomed Jesus because Jesus meant, for him, a life of freedom from the hell of living in a tomb, completely without human dignity. As Jesus left the, now-free, formerly possessed man, Jesus told the him to return to his town and tell others what God had done for him.

You can see the same dynamic at work today in the separation of society into those who are “possessed” by various metaphorical demons such as illegal substances addiction or workaholism, and those who are free to live, make money, enjoy the world, and pursue various passions and interests.

Something to think about: What are some ways that people today reject Jesus’ offer to drive away whatever demons inhabit their lives? When do you think people are willing to accept the exorcism of whatever demons have kept them from living up to their God-given potential?

Something to pray about: O God, there are so many forces and powers in our world that threaten our freedom – pharmaceutical, governmental, relational, and vocational. Please help us to see the way they enslave us and to seek the freedom you offer us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Leave a Comment