For whom is this passage good news? Certainly not for the pig farmer who lost all his (admittedly unclean) animals!
Of course: the main protagonist, next to Jesus, mentioned many times, whose demons have a name but who himself remains nameless, receives wholeness beyond imagining. The contrast between before and after meeting Jesus couldn’t be bigger. But he also receives a huge task. He is the very first Gentile called to proclaim Jesus. John the Baptist in chapter 3 is proclaiming, Jesus proclaims a lot but nobody else in this gospel has that vocation yet. In chapter 9 the twelve will be send out to proclaim. For now it is this man from the country of the Gerasenes. He is not allowed to belong to the group. He has to go back to his own people and he does.
I wonder how he was received by his home town. I wonder whether this is where the Gentile mission that Luke describes in Acts really begins. I wonder whether there grew a community among the Gerasenes of followers of Jesus. I wonder what the pig owners did and thought. I wonder where Legion ended up. I wonder how often God tells us to “return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you”.
19 June 2016
This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.