Oooh, I've been to this area! I mean, I've been to a lot of these areas--Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee--but this was the first "exciting" place I went to in Israel. One of my favourite things about the past, what, fourteen months is that I can now picture everything in the Bible so much more clearly. I've been to where this area! I know what it looks like! It is now a minefield! That is exactly why I wanted to go to Israel, and it's so nice to now picture everything so much more accurately.
Anywho. I think what I'm finding interesting about this story, this time around, is that unlike most of the other miracles before this, Jesus wanted the Gerasene man to go and share what had happened to him. Before now, Jesus was sort of trying to hide, at least a little bit. But that's out of the window at this point.
And this demon-possessed man wanted to stay! He wanted to follow Jesus and become a disciple, or at least to be a stalker-y type thing. Which is understandable. If you had been possessed, and then someone frees you from that possession, you sort of would want to stay around the de-possesser. It's safer if the demons come back, and you're sort of endebted. (I'm thinking of the little green aliens in Toy Story 2 adopting Mr. Potato Head.) But Jesus doesn't allow that; He gives him another job. He doesn't let him stay in the safe company of God, but instead live in the real world again.
It goes back to what I was thinking about yesterday, that trust versus faith idea. Jesus wanted this man to risk drowning in a storm, at least in theory. It's not like the disciples had it particularly easy (certainly in later years, they didn't), but they did get to be with Jesus for a while. At the first sign of possession, Jesus would kick him out--doesn't he tell Satan to shut up while talking to Peter at some point? The disciples were in a much more comfortable position in some ways. And the Gerasene doesn't get to experience that. He has to go out into the real world.
Not all of us are called to the exciting intimacy with God, I guess. Or maybe it's a different type of intimacy. It's a slightly more long distance relationship. It's a harder path, in some ways. But there's a deeper faith or trust, I think, that comes with being out in the real world. The Gerasene man had to trust that God would keep him safe from afar. The disciples couldn't handle that, not until after the resurrection. The disciples had an easier time of it, and they got the glory afterwards. But the Gerasene man didn't. He got healed, and he was sent out to work.
Oh, Gerasene man. I feel you. Both of us wanting the interesting path, and both of us having to live in the real world instead. Here's to you, tonight.