What could be better than staying close to Jesus, right?
That’s what a man from Gerasene thought as well.
He had lived a terrible life. Possessed by multiple demons, he lived in a graveyard. He was so violent, that he had been captured and bound in chains on multiple occasions. But he was so strong that he wrenched the chains apart and broke the shackles into pieces. Over time, his strength grew. And now he was at the point where no one could hold him down. .
Can you imagine raising a family in the nearby village? Although his violence had, to this point, been against himself, wouldn’t you worry that one day it would be turned against you? Against your children?
Then the day came when Jesus landed on the shore. As soon as Jesus stepped out the boat, this man ran at Jesus from the tombs.
~Wild-eyed and unclothed.
~Bleeding from cutting his body with stones.
~Remnants of chains and shackles on his wrists and ankles.
The scene is chaotic. The man is rushing at Jesus. The disciples are freaking out. And Jesus is ordering the demons possessing the man to come out of him. Everyone, but Jesus, is certain this demon-possessed man is going to attack. And then, just a foot away from Jesus, he falls facedown in he sand and screams out,
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Do not torment me!”
The disciples hold back their instinct to be sure that the Gerasene stays on the ground. And Jesus speaks directly to him.
“What is your name?”
From the depths of the man a voice arises. Not the man’s voice, but one of the demons.
“My name is Legion. for we are many.”
All that the disciples see is one man, one apparently crazy violent man. But what Jesus sees is a tortured man. A possessed man. A man who would be restored, if the demons come out.
Legion bargains for the many. And Jesus with elegant simplicity gives the demons permission to enter the herd of swine grazing on the hillside. They rush from the Gerasene driving the pigs over the cliff and to their death in the sea below.
I see the scene playing out like this one from The Lord of the Rings.
As the chaos clears, the disciples find him some clothes. Jesus speaks to him. Finds out about his history, his family, his friends. In the loyal love born of such a hard-won restoration, the man wants to stay with Jesus. He begs to stay with Jesus. But Jesus says no. Jesus cuts the cord.
“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
It seems like a bit early, doesn’t it. What could it hurt for him to have several weeks right beside Jesus before heading back home, back to friends and family? Wouldn’t it be better to make sure his doctrine is right? His prayer life is in order? And that he knows how to do a word study or two?
But Jesus doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes he sends us right out. Sometimes he leads us right back into the mess of our own lives when we would just love to have a few weeks on the mountaintop. And all we have is the loyal love born of our hard-won restoration. Sometimes Jesus cuts the cord.
And I’m wondering if this is for you. Are you clinging tightly when it’s time to tell? Perhaps its time for you to tell your friends and family how much the Lord has done for you. Perhaps it’s time to share of your loyal love for this One who birthed in you such a hard-won restoration. Perhaps Jesus is cutting the cord.