He was on a mission.
I—actually all twelve of us—followed him all over the country. We lived on the edge. It was a breathtaking time. We saw and heard impossible things.
As an example, we once jumped into an idle fishing boat, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, because he asked us to row across the lake toward the region of the Gerasenes. It was far, maybe three or four miles. We strained at the oars. We rowed in shifts. My arms, shoulders, stomach, and, legs burned with fatigue.
A few feet from the shoreline he jumped out of the boat and waded to the beach. At the same time, I noticed, to my right, a man rushing toward Jesus. The others saw him too. But we weren’t close enough, quick enough, or rested enough to protect Jesus.
Jesus stood still. He didn’t flinch at the onrushing man. Instead, Jesus appeared to examine and embrace the man running to him. The man’s face had a savage scowl. His face and body were cut and scarred. The man’s fierceness warned, ‘I am danger!’
I thought this has to be him. I’d heard rumors about him. He lived, naked, among the tombstones. Everyone avoided him. He snapped chains and pulled apart leg irons. No one attempted—any longer—to control him. Night and day he cried out gibberish and frequently abused himself.
The fierce-looking man came closer to my master. But suddenly, when he was face-to-face with Jesus, without explanation, he fell to his knees and stared desperately into the eyes of Jesus.
Then the man screeched, “Jesus, Son of the Living God, what do you want with me? Promise me in God’s name you won’t torture me!”
Without fear Jesus commanded, “Come out of him.”
The man lowered his gaze, his chin dropped onto his chest. He seemed dazed.
“What is your name?”
“My name is Legion … because we are many.”
Tense and afraid I prepared to rush the man. I’d never seen anyone or anything as intimidating or terrifying as this man.
The man raised his arms and with open hands pleaded with Jesus. “I beg you, let us enter those pigs on the hillside!”
Jesus gave his permission. In less than a blink of an eye, the large herd of swine squealed, jumped, and wildly ran down the hill into the sea, and drowned.
I was—all twelve of us were—dumbstruck!
The man’s fierceness instantly evaporated and he spoke calmly, intelligently, with Jesus. We dressed him in some of our extra clothing.
“Let me go with you,” the healed man said.
Jesus looked into his eyes and smiled. “Go home to your family and friends and tell them what the Lord has done for you.”
Reluctantly the man stood up, he grinned back at Jesus, faced toward Decapolis, and hurried away—on a mission.
(to be continued)