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.
By giving special emphasis to how the New Testament has helped shape the church’s identity and theological outlook throughout the centuries, as well as the role it has played within the broader cultures of both East and West, this introduction also seeks to assist readers in exercising creative, informed leadership within their own communities of faith and in bringing a deeper understanding of early Christianity to their conversations with the wider public.
Along with separate chapters devoted to each New Testament writing, there are chapters explaining how this collection of texts emerged as uniquely authoritative witnesses to the church’s faith; why they were recognized as canonical whereas other early Christian writings were not; how the four canonical Gospels are related to one another, including a discussion of the Synoptic Problem; how the Jesus tradition––his teachings, stories from his ministry, and the accounts of his suffering, death and resurrection––originated and developed into Gospels written in narrative form; and how the Gospels relate to Jesus Christ as he was and is.
Also included is a chapter on the writings of Paul and how they emerged as a collection of authoritative texts for the church. This chapter includes a discussion of ancient letter-writing, special considerations for interpreting the Pauline writings, and Paul’s decisive influence within the history of the church and western culture.
A distinctive feature of this introduction is its simultaneous publication in two versions. There is a standard, printed version with comprehensive yet detailed coverage of each writing and supplementary chapters on related introductory questions. There is also an expanded CD-ROM version, which gives fuller treatment (and supporting endnotes) to numerous issues introduced in the printed version; provides extensive, annotated bibliographies on each chapter; and includes additional maps, diagrams, charts, and other resources for classroom use and personal study.