IT SAID ITS NAME WAS LEGION
The man from Gadarenes was a mess. This poor, tortured soul was twisted, tormented, torn up inside, and made his tour among the tombs. A wretched rendering of a man who had dabbled with the devil and had paid for it dearly, had become possessed. Now he was a raving madman, absent from any attire, a swelter of old, twisted scars, and freshly cut bleeding new ones; for day and night he grovelled through the graveyard slicing himself with stones.
But when he saw Jesus, there was just enough of the man he once was to rush to the Redeemer and bow before Him. That’s when the demons decided to deal a blow of their own, for they wanted nothing to do with Christ, who compelled them to depart from this dear, lost soul. Yes, even though the demoniac had betrayed God by turning to the dark side and the devil, Christ had compassion on him, anyway. Such is our God. And when Jesus asked the unclean spirit what his name was, the unclean spirit let Him know his name was Legion. And a legion is a lot. In fact, a legion was a whole army in ancient days. Yup, an arsenal of evil entities had entered this extremely and excruciatingly tortured man for what had seemed like eons. He was theirs now. Or so they thought. But before we feel compelled to have too much compassion on this tortured man, we must realize the reason he had found his person in this predicament had been his own fault. It was because he had dealt with the devil through one of these mediums—Ouija boards, séances, magical spells or trance-channelling. Yup, it had been his own fault, for a devil cannot enter a lost person unless that person invites the entity in. Any witch will tell you that.
And so, this wretched wonder slunk around the cemetery day and night, cursing, complaining, crazy. The villagers had tried to restrain him with ropes, shackles and chains. But to no avail. For he broke each fetter fastened round his feet and fingers, so that no man could constrain him. He exhibited superhuman strength because he was possessed by supernatural spirits, determined to make his heart their home. Oh, how he must have cried continuously in that sorry state he had found himself in. So much despair. So much despondency. So much depravity. So, when he saw Jesus, he must have felt swamped with a surge of hope that maybe the Redeemer would rescue him. Yes, there was just enough of his former self to rush to the Redeemer and bow down naked before Him to plead for deliverance.
And faithful Jesus did. Yup, Christ cast those crafty, damnable demons out of the man with one compelling command—but not before they begged Him not to send them to the abyss, but to let them possess a pack of pigs nearby. Nope, it doesn’t seem fair to those pigs, but we must remember that in Jesus’ day, swine were considered unclean. So, it seemed fitting to our Father through His Son to hurl them into that herd of unclean animals. And those pigs…well, they had the sense of enough to know they had been invaded with pure evil as they stampeded over the steep edge of a cliff overlooking a sea of raging waters and hurled themselves to their deaths on the deadly rocks below. They would rather have killed themselves than live in torments. See, even God’s creatures know good and evil, too.
Once clean, that man must have felt so…well, relieved isn’t the right word for it. Gratitude doesn’t quite grasp it. Appreciation could only apply to the half of it. This man must have felt so overwhelmed he didn’t have words to convey anything, but a feeble, “Thank You” to the LORD who had looked longingly upon him in pity. I can picture the tears trailing down the Gadarene’s cheeks…tears of amazement…tears of utter joy. And his beaten and battered face from then on begin to have laugh lines.
When the villagers flocked out to see what all the commotion was, they found the formerly possessed man seated at Jesus’s feet in clean clothes and with soundness of mind. No wonder they freaked. For what kind of magic man could compel demons to come out of a man with just one command. So, they begged Jesus to leave. I wonder if they begged him to be gone because they were pagans who practised the deep, dark arts of the devil, too…and figured our Maker was a magician who might have put a malicious curse on them for it, too.
As for the man of Gadarenes…well, he begged beloved Jesus that he might go on with His newly-found LORD, but his Redeemer refused. Now, that might seem somewhat unfair; but Christ wanted this man to present himself to his family and friends to show the miracle that had been made by his Maker…to see how good the LORD is…to give them a glimpse of his glory…and maybe…just maybe…inspire them to repent of their magical arts, too. Maybe this miracle made some of them determined to become disciples themselves. Only God knows…
But I’ll bet, had the man split with our Savior, the villagers might have thought that maniacal man had simply moved on to more putrid pastures. This way, he was living proof a miracle had been wrought by his Maker. That alone might have won more souls than had the man left and had never been seen again.
And to me, that is Jesus’s way. For His Word says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
And the man…I’ll further wager He worshipped the Redeemer the rest of his days…
And Jesus…the Great Shepherd was overjoyed to have found one of His lost sheep, wrap him around His shoulders and carry him home one day.
Man, how I love this Guy!
All Scriptural references taken from the NKJV Bible, 1985.