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.
J. Ellsworth Kalas, adapted from chapter 1:
There’s an old hymn you may be familiar with that contains these words: “This is my Father’s world, / And to my listening ears, / All nature sings, and round me rings / The music of the spheres. / This is my Father’s world, / He shines in all that’s fair; / In the rustling grass, I hear him pass, / He speaks to me everywhere” (Maltbie D. Babcock, “This Is My Father’s World”; 1901). It is true still today that “all nature sings,” but it is increasingly difficult to catch the melody. Almost anywhere we go, nature’s voice is now muted by the sound of traffic and assorted electronic devices. Those who go out to walk or jog are likely to wear a device that keeps them in touch with news or music or speech—so that, intentionally or not, they have shut out nature’s sound and dulled its influence.
Which brings me to the point of this book. I rejoice greatly in the “green” movement that has made new millions conscious of the wonder of our creation and the blessed necessity of caring for it passionately. This is a magnificent step in the right direction, and it puts quality content into what might otherwise be little more than sentimental feelings. But I want us to go farther than that. I want us not simply to see—and indeed, to be grateful for—the wonders of nature. I want us to go beyond nature’s exquisite beauty until we learn some of the lessons it would teach us, lessons about both life and God. When nature sings (as it does every moment) its melody draws us to God, if only we listen with our whole being.
This book will contain a discussion guide.