Jesus frees a demon-possessed man
26 Jesus and his disciples sailed to the Gerasenes’ land, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 As soon as Jesus got out of the boat, a certain man met him. The man was from the city and was possessed by demons. For a long time, he had lived among the tombs, naked and homeless. 28 When he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down before him. Then he shouted, “ What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me! ” 29 He said this because Jesus had already commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had taken possession of him, so he would be bound with leg irons and chains and placed under guard. But he would break his restraints, and the demon would force him into the wilderness.
30 Jesus asked him, “ What is your name? ”
“ Legion, ” he replied, because many demons had entered him. 31 They pleaded with him not to order them to go back into the abyss.t32 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs. Jesus gave them permission, 33 and the demons left the man and entered the pigs. The herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned.
34 When those who tended the pigs saw what happened, they ran away and told the story in the city and in the countryside. 35 People came to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully dressed and completely sane. They were filled with awe. 36 Those people who had actually seen what had happened told them how the demon-possessed man had been delivered. 37 Then everyone gathered from the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave their area because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and returned across the lake. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged to come along with Jesus as one of his disciples. Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “ Return home and tell the story of what God has done for you. ” So he went throughout the city proclaiming what Jesus had done for him.
The point of the Revised Common Lectionary is to allow God’s people to encounter the meaning of Scripture through the Word read and proclaimed. Yet too many lectionary resources fail to help in that task. In fact, they often confront the preacher with a choice between poor options: in-depth commentary focused too heavily on the historical world of the text; or shallow suggestions for “life applications” that have too little to do with the real world. Christians are called to an engagement with the deep meaning of Scripture; preachers are called to help them do that. But where can they turn for resources that will make this possible?
The Abingdon Theological Companion to the Lectionary begins with the conviction that Scripture speaks first and foremost to Christians now. Its message engages Christian belief and action in the present day. While informed by the best in current biblical studies, its commentary on the Scripture passages of the Revised Common Lectionary focuses on the questions of Christian life in the world that church members bring with them to worship. Each entry is co-written by a Theologian and a Homiletician and seeks to answer the essential questions, “what does this passage say about the Gospel? How does it speak to my encounter with God in Christ, and my calling as a Christian in the world?”
This volume is conceived as a companion to biblical and lectionary resources that preachers regularly employ. It showcases theological matters that arise out of both the biblical texts in the lectionary and the church seasons and special days. This important resource will draw upon recent scholarship in various disciplines with a view to enriching the theological contribution of sermons in the years to come. The result will be a volume that has broad ecumenical appeal and that preachers will want at their fingertips.
This volume is for The Revised Common Lectionary Year C.