My Name Is Legion, What's Yours? Reflections on Luke 8:26-39

My Name Is Legion

There is a sense in which each of us could look in the mirror and say with accuracy, "My name is Legion, for we are many." Add to that the fact that people tormented by anxiety, addiction, and unjust suffering are everywhere. Can the Church imitate Jesus in searching them out and offering healing? Or do we need to hear the comment with which Jeffrey John ends his treatment of the Gerasene demoniac passage: "The Church of today needs to ask itself if it is still keeping out just the kind of people Jesus wants in" (95).

The townspeople of Gerasa reacted with fear to the healing of one of their own. Recognizing the presence of the supernatural in Jesus, they begged him to leave. The former demoniac, though, wanted to stay by his side. Jesus instructs him to go back home and tell people, not about what an impressive exorcist Jesus was, but about what God had done for him (8:39).

In order to exorcize the legion, Jesus had to step outside the territory of Israel into "unclean" Gentile territory. Once there, he healed the most untouchable of the untouchables. He made him the first apostle to the other Gentiles. In this action Jesus conveys God's embrace of those who have never asked for him. The least acceptable turns out to be the most accepting of what Christ has to offer. He becomes the messenger of liberation to others. Can we do the same? Have our demons fled at the command of Christ or are they still in residence? What hinders us from telling others the good news that the power of God working through Jesus can defeat and reorder the destructive chaos in our lives and those of others?

Sources Consulted

Jeffrey John, The Meaning in the Miracles, (Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001).

Gerd Thiessen, The Miracle Stories of the Early Christian Tradition (T and T Clark, 1983).

12/2/2022 9:10:35 PM
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  • Alyce McKenzie
    About Alyce McKenzie
    Alyce M. McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.