They Were Legion

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“When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.” Luke 8:35b, NIV

They had never seen this before. Oh, they’d seen the man. They’d been terrified by the man. He was unpredictable. You never knew what he was going to do next, but you always knew he was there. So you warned your children, “Don’t go near the tombs.” If he and his demons would just go away, if somehow we could just get rid of him, we would have a peaceful existence.

A bus filled with members of a university fraternity rolls down the road. A camera captures video of some of the other passengers on the bus. They were many, and they had names, too. I think one might had been named Prejudice, another Ignorance. One was centuries old, named False Superiority. You may know that one; the one that carries the trademark of claiming humanity by making another less than human.

The university knew what to do. Send them away. You and your demons cannot remain here. Take them with you and leave. We will return to our peaceful existence.

Like so many before it, the meeting at the church had been contentious. The lines had clearly been drawn, and the attacks had become increasingly personal. More and more often, people suggested that if this person or that person or this group or that group would just leave and take all the trouble they cause with them, we could get back to our peaceful existence.

When the townspeople came out to the lake, they were afraid. This they hadn’t seen. He was the same man; they knew it. They recognized him. At the feet of Jesus, he found his peaceful existence. The Legion that had created separation and fear were gone, and the person remained, a person who could now enjoy peaceful existence in the community because that which had plagued him was gone.

The person remains. I think that’s good news. Jesus certainly had the authority to cast both the man and his Legion into the sea, but he didn’t. Jesus does not cast out people. Jesus finds those things–named and unnamed–that plague, that create separation, that cause fear, that stir up evil, and casts those out. Jesus redeems the person.

That’s good news.

Do you think we could follow that Jesus?

Dean

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