AUGUST 26- Nº 238 Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39
Not long after Jesus had calmed the storm, he and his disciples arrived on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. They were in an area known as the Gerasenes (or Gadarenes). As Jesus stepped out of the boat, he was met by a naked man who was possessed by demons. The man was so violent that the people had driven him out of town and forced him to live in a cemetery filled with rocky tombs. Everyone was afraid of him. They had tried to chain him up, but the evil spirits inside him gave him such power that he easily broke the chains apart. Constantly he would cry out and cut himself with stones. As soon as he saw Jesus, the man ran to him and fell on his knees. He shouted, “What do you want with me? I know who you are. You are Jesus, the Son of the Most High God! Please don’t torture me!” Jesus asked him what his name was. The man replied, “We are called Legion because there are so many of us.” The demons knew how powerful Jesus was. They begged him not to throw them into the abyss—a bottomless pit God has reserved for Satan and his demons (see Revelation 20:1-3). “Look, there is a herd of pigs over there. If you cast us out of this man, please let us live in those pigs,” the demons begged. Jesus gave them permission, and the evil spirits left the man and entered the pigs. The entire herd of 2,000 pigs went wild. They rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned in the Sea of Galilee! The men who were taking care of the pigs ran into town and told everyone what had just happened. The townspeople were shocked. They ran out to see for themselves. When they got to the tombs, they found the man who had been possessed sitting calmly at Jesus’ feet. He was dressed and in his right mind. The men who tended the pigs explained again what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. But instead of being grateful, the townspeople became afraid. Here, on their shore, was someone who possessed more power than thousands of demons! Everyone wanted Jesus to leave . . . everyone except the man who had been set free. Knowing he was not wanted, Jesus got back into his boat. The man who had formerly been demon-possessed begged Jesus to let him go along. But Jesus had other plans for him. He said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you. Tell them about God’s mercy in your life.” So, the man went all over his town and to the ten cities in the region known as the Decapolis telling everyone what Jesus had done for him. Everyone who heard his story was amazed! Later, when Jesus returned to the Decapolis, he was welcomed by large crowds of people (see #243). No doubt the man he had freed from demons paved the way. He was able to witness to the Gentiles in these cities in a way that Jesus and his Jewish disciples could not have done.
This story shows how much Jesus values every life! He and his disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee, braved a storm, and landed in a place they were not wanted just so one demon-possessed, Gentile man who had been discarded by his own people could be saved! Never forget—everyone is valuable to God!