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The possessed man, to Jesus, in the country of the Gerasenes…
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”
Luke 8.28

We, first of all, have to put the story in context: it follows immediately on (in all three of the Synoptic Gospels) from the stilling of the storm.  Jesus and his disciples emerge, from out of the mortal danger of wind and storm in a small boat, into the calm – and on to landfall – and safety.

Safe, they may be, but they are in a strange land.  They have crossed the Sea of Galilee, they have left behind the familiar safe havens of Capernaum, Magdala, and Tiberius, they’re all on the western shore, back in Galilee.

And here they are now on the eastern shore – a foreign shore – they are now outside of Israel, and are at the very edge of the wilderness – where there may well be dragons, or, at the very least, demons!

There is a city there, a city of sorts (somebody has to live at the edge of the world!), and the first local they meet, true to form, has lots of demons, legions of them, in fact.

He was a strange man, this ‘Legion’: a deranged nudist, living down among the dead; a storm of a man himself, who had to be tied down for his own safety, or maybe, perhaps, just out of fear.

And yet this foreign, non-Jewish, possessed and troubled soul – recognised what had washed up onto his shore, recognised the person (and status) of Jesus; and recognised that he wasn’t there just to sightsee.  “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”

This in stark contrast to his disciples we note, who just prior to landfall, had exclaimed (Luke 8.25):  “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”

And contrast all this to the prophet Isaiah (65.1).  There we find a God who is desperate to be sought, and found, and recognised, by those, as it were, ‘on the other side’, almost jumping up and down in his eagerness to be noticed:
“I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask,
to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am.’ to a nation that did not call on my name.”

To a people indeed:
“…a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens and offering incense on bricks;
who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places;
who eat swine’s flesh, with broth of abominable things in their vessels…” (Is.65.2-4)
– all those who just pay lipservice to God’s covenant love.

 Jesus, on the other hand, crosses over boundaries, into alien and hostile territory – setting free those shackled by their own demons, snatching them back from the brink of the abyss, re-clothing them with dignity and respect, and restoring them to humanity.

 St Paul, who had himself crossed over from Judaism to become a follower of Jesus, and who clearly had his own demons to contend with, knew that we all have to be set free, re-clothed, and restored, in Christ, in order to become who we truly are, who God has destined us to be:
“As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free,
there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ.” (Gal.3.27-28)

 We all have to cross that storm-swept sea.
We all have to step out onto that foreign shore.
We all have to live, for a while maybe, down among the dead men.
We all have to cry, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
– in order to discover ourselves, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in our right minds.


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