apart and smash the fetters; and no one had the strength to control him. Night and day he stayed among the tombs
on the hillsides, and was continually screaming, and beating himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell at
his feet, and cried with a loud voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? For God’s sake, I beg you, do not
torment me!” He said this, because Jesus had commanded, “Evil spirit, come out of the man!” When Jesus asked the evil
spirit, “What is your name?” it replied, “Legion is my name, for we are many.” And it kept begging Jesus, not to send them out of that region.
Now a great herd of pigs was feeding on the hillside, and the evil spirits begged him, “Send us to the pigs, and let us
go into them.” So Jesus let them go. The evil spirits came out of the man and went into the pigs; and immediately,
the herd rushed down the cliff; and all were drowned in the lake. The herdsmen fled, and reported this in the town and in the countryside.
So all the people came to see what had happened. They came to Jesus, and saw the man freed of the evil spirits, sitting there, clothed and
in his right mind; the same man who had been possessed by the legion. They were afraid. And when those who had seen it, told what had
happened to the man and to the pigs, the people begged Jesus to leave their neighborhood. When Jesus was getting into the boat, the man,
who had been possessed, begged to stay with him. Jesus would not let him, and said, “Go home to your people, and tell them how
much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So he went throughout the country of Decapolis,
telling everyone how much Jesus had done for him; and all the people were astonished.
In Ancient Athens, the State would choose some men from
societal margins and keep them. When a crisis threatened
the society, it would cast lots, select one of them, strip him
naked, parade him through the streets where everyone
assembled abuse him, and sacrifice him outside the city.
He was ‘pharmakos,’ meaning poison and cure. By absorbing
the evils of society—which were a legion—he became poison; by
his death, he became their cure. (Recognize similar dynamics
in pharmacology?) The man among the tombs absorbed
the legion of societal evils and the society lived a ‘normal’ life at
his expense. Jesus liberating him upset the carefully calibrated
societal balance: who would now bear for them their inner
demons? To whom can they cast off their own sins and pretend
to be virtuous? But Jesus returns the healed man to them, to help
them own up their demons and find healing in God’s mercy.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2022