Jesus’ miraculous healing (Lk 8: 26 – 36) leads us to an unusual response from the locals (Lk. 8:37 – 39).
They had just witnessed a miracle. Jesus had freed a man from demon possession, a man who had been a source of fear and perhaps shame for the community. One might expect that such an extraordinary event would be met with gratitude or at least curiosity.
But the opposite happens. The residents of the Gerasenes are terrified and they actually ask Jesus to leave. This is quite perplexing.
This setting reminds us of modern-day context/s, where there is growing hostility towards the gospel. Even though the gospel brings the message of hope and transformation, the response/reaction is often one of fear and rejection—similar to the response of the Gerasenes towards Jesus.
Why would a community prefer to live with their burdens rather than embrace the transformative presence of hope?
This story exposes unsettling truths about the human condition, universal across time and geography. Sometimes, people are so entangled in their own problems or so anxious about change that they’d rather reject anything or anyone transformative. This could be true for the Gerasenes, and it is often true for modern communities resistant to the gospel.
Delving deeper into its layers, the passage reveals an unsettling truth about human nature: sometimes we are so accustomed to our own problems or so afraid of change that we’d rather reject a transformative presence like Jesus.
The behaviour of the Gerasenes reminds us that human beings often choose the familiar over the unknown, even when the unknown holds the promise of positive transformation. The townspeople in the story mirror a part of ourselves that resists change, even when it’s for the better.
However, the passage doesn’t leave us in despair; it also reveals the redemptive hope that transformation is within reach. While the townspeople become fearful, the healed man is forever grateful.
Jesus simply tells him to return home and narrate how much God has done for him. The man who is healed becomes an immediate witness. This echoes another universal human element—the need to share transformative experiences with others.
Applying this to our lives today means recognizing that if we’ve undergone something transformative, we should share it. This is a message not just for the man healed in the Gerasenes but for anyone who has encountered life-changing hope.
If we’ve experienced something transformative, something life-altering, we shouldn’t keep it to ourselves.
We all have a story to tell, just like the healed man, and there are people waiting to hear it, people who may be inspired to embark on their own journeys of transformation.
Don’t let fear hold you back from embracing change, and if you’ve had a “wow” moment in life, share the good news. Your story could be the catalyst for someone else’s journey to transformation. So go ahead, be the change and spread the hope!
The man’s mission becomes a mission for all who have been transformed: to go out and tell the world about it.