Sunday August 12, 2007 | Greg Boyd
They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
Jesus asked him, “What is your name?"
“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
Up to this point in the story of Jesus, Jesus was the one who displayed the power of the Kingdom of God. At this point, Jesus charges the 12 disciples to do what he had been doing. The program given to the disciples follows a simple pattern: Do the Kingdom > Then Proclaim the Kingdom.
Up to this point in the story of Jesus, Jesus was the one who displayed the power of the Kingdom of God. At this point, Jesus charges the 12 disciples to do what he had been doing. The program given to the disciples follows a simple pattern:
Do the Kingdom > Then Proclaim the Kingdom
Jesus’ kind of ministry is about actions more than it is words. Proclamation follows actions. This is a simple way to share our faith, and we need to remember to keep this simple.
The key to understanding this passage is centered on the fact that Jesus called The Twelve. This is a symbol that Jesus uses establishing a New Israel that was founded upon the twelve tribes. Jesus was calling together a New Israel and he was sending them out to conquer a new promised land, one that was not physical in nature. When he sent them out without a staff, bag, bread, money, or extra shirt, this was a challenge to the disciples that they needed to learn to trust God just as much as the people of Israel had to trust God as they wandered around in the wilderness.
This program of the New Israel looks like Jesus and is not based on the program of the Old Israel. It extends beyond a particular nation and includes all nations. It is not limited to one ethnicity, but embraces all peoples. It is not based on a political program of a Jewish king, but the King who is Jesus who transcends all political agendas. When Jesus commissioned the Twelve, he sent them to be a people of power that reflected Jesus’ power, not the kind of power seen in the Old Israel.