This Sunday’s texts paint startling pictures of the horrific nature of sin. The church’s repeated celebration of holy communion counters that tragic reality in a continued showing forth of the death of Jesus until he comes again. It is a dramatic declaration of “how much God has done for you.”
Readings and Psalm
- Isaiah 65:1-9
The prophet sent to a rebellious people
- Psalm 22:19-28
In the midst of the assembly I will praise you. (Ps. 22:22)
- Galatians 3:23-29
In baptism, clothed with Christ; no longer Jew or Greek
- Luke 8:26-39
Jesus casts out demons possessing a man of the Gerasenes
Proclaiming How Much Jesus Has Done
We feel powerless when life’s storms rage about us. Despite our best efforts, we cannot navigate those dangers without the hand of God to guide and free us.
In the gospel, the man with demons was unable to help himself. His affliction had caused him to be chained and shackled by his community. Yet even that could not control the raging evil within him. He remained helpless and ostracized on his own until he was emancipated by the power of God in Christ. Even though he was an outsider from the land of the Geresenes, Jesus came to his aid. He cast out the legion of demons in the man and sent them into the nearby herd of pigs, who then flung themselves off the bank. Though that dramatic event caused fear and confusion, the man was at last set free and commissioned by Jesus as a witness to his stunning liberation.
Paul reflects on the human condition of being “imprisoned” and “guarded” and the necessity of Christ to restore us. He reminds us of the power of our baptism to free and unite us. The text goes on to make the radically inclusive statement that there is no longer “Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
Together, these texts recount the journey of faith from bondage to freedom, from separation to unity, from death to new life. And this is a path open to all, no matter who we are or from whence we’ve come. The scriptures energize us to join that man in the gospel who went out proclaiming “how much Jesus had done for him,” even to those who would rather not hear it.