February 24, 2018
‘Gerasene Side Trip’
OK, the past 2 days were tough –
As a parishioner used to say:
“I asked you the time,
You told me not only how to tell time,
But even how to build a watch!
I just wanted you to tell me what time it was,
And now I am late!”
Today, we’re back to Mark’s action gospel:
The side trip to ‘the other side’ of the lake.
Notice again your film editing problem -
‘The next day’ in my movie
is after the crowd on the shore
forced Jesus to sit in a boat to teach –
but the side chat explaining to disciples
is a cutaway clip of a later scene.
Check your image,
Since there will be another similar story:
Put Jesus in the back of the boat
(how big is your boat?)
what is ‘just as he was’?
Anyhow, you know the rest:
Storm, wake him up –
He stills the storm,
and chides the disciples.
In my reading or mental movie,
Is abrupt, angry, irritable, irascible –
Toward demons, storms, and disciples.
If yours is ‘gentle Jesus, meek and mild’,
You’ve got Matthew’s Jesus maybe,
But you’re fighting the text of Mark!
Have you ever crossed a boundary, and taken a risk?
How did that go? What storms were raging?
They get to the other side
And out of the tombs,
another possessed man –
and another exorcism
What’s the difference –
How would you cast this part,
and what’s this possession,
and the failed response of chains?
Jesus engages in spirit talking
Who are you – my name is Legion
Who is the he and the them….
A political reference to Romans?
Jesus negotiates with the unclean spirits
Relocates them into unclean swine
Offensive to Jews-
Livelihood for Garasene swineherds
Word is out –
the possessed is now self-possessed
Wants to join the road show as groupie –
but is sent home to the Decapolis –
‘10 cities’ developed by Rome
At least he has Jesus’ permission -
he can tell how God blessed him –
so why do people want Jesus to leave?
When worlds collide,
The disruption benefits some,
But is unwelcome to many –
Good news for the possessed man,
Bad news for Legion
On that day,
when evening had come,
he said to them,
‘Let us go across to the other side.’
And leaving the crowd behind,
they took him with them in the boat,
just as he was.
Other boats were with him.
A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat,
so that the boat was already being swamped.
But he was in the stern,
asleep on the cushion;
and they woke him up and said to him,
‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’
He woke up and rebuked the wind,
and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’
Then the wind ceased,
and there was a dead calm.
He said to them,
‘Why are you afraid?
Have you still no faith?’
And they were filled with great awe
and said to one another,
‘Who then is this,
that even the wind and the sea obey him?’
They came to the other side of the lake,
to the country of the Gerasenes.
And when he had stepped out of the boat,
immediately a man out of the tombs
with an unclean spirit met him.
He lived among the tombs;
and no one could restrain him any more,
even with a chain;
for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains,
but the chains he wrenched apart,
and the shackles he broke in pieces;
and no one had the strength to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains
he was always howling and bruising himself with stones.
When he saw Jesus from a distance,
he ran and bowed down before him;
and he shouted at the top of his voice,
‘What have you to do with me,
Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God,
do not torment me.’
For he had said to him,
‘Come out of the man,
you unclean spirit!’
Then Jesus asked him,
‘What is your name?’
He replied, ‘My name is Legion;
for we are many.’
He begged him earnestly
not to send them out of the country.
Now there on the hillside
a great herd of swine was feeding;
and the unclean spirits begged him,
‘Send us into the swine;
let us enter them.’
So he gave them permission.
And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine;
and the herd, numbering about two thousand,
rushed down the steep bank into the lake,
and were drowned in the lake.
The swineherds ran off
and told it in the city and in the country.
Then people came to see
what it was that had happened.
They came to Jesus
and saw the demoniac sitting there,
clothed and in his right mind,
the very man who had had the legion;
and they were afraid.
Those who had seen
what had happened
to the demoniac
and to the swine
Then they began to beg Jesus
to leave their neighbourhood.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed by demons
begged him that he might be with him.
But Jesus refused,
and said to him,
‘Go home to your friends,
and tell them how much
the Lord has done for you,
and what mercy
he has shown you.’
And he went away
and began to proclaim
in the Decapolis
how much Jesus
had done for him;
and everyone was amazed.