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.
Growing numbers of church leaders are discovering that many films are able to impact viewers with Gospel truths almost as well as a good sermon. Former pastor and longtime reviewer of films Ed McNulty offers this guide to help church leaders enter into dialogue with contemporary films. McNulty carefully crafts a theology of movies and then provides practical suggestions for creating and leading movie discussions with groups. In addition, he provides people from all across the theological spectrum with a framework to understand whether the overall message of a film outweighs concerns over profanity, violence, or sex in the film. He concludes by introducing twenty-seven films and including provocative questions about each that will prepare leaders to assemble and facilitate a group. Popular films explored include The Color Purple; Crash; Hotel Rwanda; The Matrix; Million Dollar Baby; O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Shawshank Redemption.
Edward N. McNulty is an author and speaker on the topic of film and religion. He is founder and editor of Visual Parables, a monthly newsletter, and is author of Praying the Movies and Praying the Movies II, both available from Westminster John Knox Press.