Jesus and His disciples sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which, writes Luke, “is opposite Galilee” (Luke 8:26). The region of the Gerasenes was “over against” the land of Galilee. And as I hover over this passage in Luke I’m thinking about how it’s “other sided-ness” was more than just a physical characteristic.
The man who met Jesus was opposite as well. The man was naked and lived among the dead (8:27), but Jesus was clothed in power (Lk. 3:22, Lk. 24:49) and was the Author of Life (Acts 3:15). He recognized Jesus as the one and only Son of the Most High (8:28), but Jesus called him out as the many, who went by the name Legion and possessed the man, demons deserving of the abyss below (8:30-31). Legion had little regard for life, whether human or otherwise (8:32), but Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10).
But perhaps the most stark contrast is how, after being delivered by Jesus, the man stood, or rather sat, opposite to the others of the Gerasenes.
Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So He got into the boat and returned.
(Luke 8:35-37 ESV)
The man formally known as Legion, sat at the feet of Jesus. The man who once lived in lifeless darkness, now was drawn to the light as he tasted of life to the full. He who once was naked and wretched, was now clothed with a robe of righteousness. He who had been an unwilling slave to the underworld, was now a willing servant in the kingdom of heaven.
He was clothed. He was in his right mind. And so, he sat at the feet of Jesus. Opposite to those who were once his countrymen.
His countrymen stood at a distance. For they were out of their minds, seized with great fear. Whether because they didn’t know how to process the miracle of a possessed man healed, or because they were all too capable of adding up the impact to their economy if more of their livelihood were to be driven to destruction in the lake (8:32-33), we don’t know. But they were not in a right mind and so, they wanted Jesus to leave.
The country of the Gerasenes was opposite Galilee. So, while the many of the Gerasenes would send away the Son of God, the one who had been delivered by the Man of Galilee would sit at His feet. While those living for swine would seek distance from the Savior, the one delivered from darkness “begged that he might be with Him” (8:38).
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
(Colossians 1:13-14 ESV)
O’ to be clothed, in our right minds, and at the feet of Jesus . . . and not the opposite.
What redemption! What reconciliation! Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Trophies of God’s grace. Only for God’s glory.