Jesus & his students arrived safely on the other side of Lake Galilee, in the territory known variously as Gerasa, Gergasa or Gadara (74).
As soon as Jesus got out of the boat, he was met by a man with an evil spirit in him. This man lived among the burial tombs near the town. Day and night he wandered among the tombs & through the surrounding hills, screaming loudly & cutting himself with stones. Many times his feet and his hands had been chained, but every time he had broken the chains; he was simply too strong for anyone to control him.
When this man saw Jesus from a distance, he ran to him & fell on his knees before him. Jesus knew instantly that the man was under the control of an evil spirit. Jesus commanded, “Evil spirit, come out of this man!” Then the evil spirit in the man screamed, “Jesus, Son of the Most High God! What do you want with me? For God’s sake, I beg you, don’t punish me!” So Jesus asked him, “What is your name!” The answer — “My name is Legion” – indicated there were actually many evil spirits tormenting the poor man.
The evil spirits pleaded with Jesus not to destroy them, but to send them into a large herd of pigs that was feeding on the hillside nearby. Jesus let the evil spirits enter the pigs. Then the whole herd — about two thousand pigs in all — rushed down the side of the hill into the lake, where they were drowned.
The pig-herders ran away and spread the news in the town & among the farms. People from the town went out to see for themselves what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who used to have the legion of evil spirits in him. He was sitting still next to Jesus, fully clothed & in his right mind!
The pig-herders again told the townspeople what had happened to the man with the evil spirits, and what had happened to the pigs. The townspeople were afraid of the great power that Jesus had displayed, and so they asked Jesus to leave their territory.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man from whom the evil spirits had been expelled begged him, “Let me go with you!” But Jesus told him, “Go back home to your family and tell them how much God has done for you & how kind he has been to you.” So the man left & went all through the surrounding towns, telling what Jesus had done for him. And all who heard it were amazed!
(74) Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-39