Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Well, that was a long passage, but I hope you didn’t just walk away thinking, “what a bizarre story about Jesus casting out demons.” On one hand, you are absolutely correct; I mean, it is not every day that you hear a story about Jesus casting evil spirits into pigs, and those same pigs then running off a cliff into water to drown. However, if that is all you got out of it, I think you missed the whole point of this story.
Before I go any further I feel it is important to touch on a couple things. In our horror movie loving culture, I think it is easy for us to develop a false understanding that God and the Devil are somehow equals. This idea is completely false. We can see one example of that here in this passage. The demons that were inside of the man are literally begging Christ not to send them away. Christ shows how infinitely more powerful He is than the demons by not just casting them out of the man, but casting them into pigs who then ran into the sea where they would do no further harm. Once again, proving how much stronger our God is than Satan.
However, like I said before, we shouldn’t focus so much on the casting out of the demons, but rather the man himself. This story takes place in a place called Gerasa, which was a largely pagan (Gentile) territory. An unclean spirit possessed the man himself, living in an unclean place (a graveyard), which to a Jew, would be seen as even more unclean due to its proximity to a pig herd. However, none of that mattered to Jesus. This man was a lost cause, who had lost everything including his family, his job, even his ability to be among regular everyday society. However, none of that mattered to Jesus. As the story tells us, Jesus hops off his boat, walks to this man, cures him, the town hears all about it and sends Jesus away and before he can do anything else, He is back on his boat and gone forever. What we can take away from all that is Jesus’ whole reason for stopping there was for this one man, a gentile, who was totally cast out from society, chained up in a graveyard. Jesus traveled across the entire sea for this one man.
How often in your life have you felt unlovable, unredeemable, or unworthy? You have probably heard the saying that God loves you and would do anything for you, but if you are like me, that doesn’t really matter unless it is proven. I think for some of you, those are nice sounding words that need to be backed up by something greater. This story is your something greater. Jesus traveled across an entire sea for one man, and he would die on the cross again, even if it were just for you.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
What is God saying to you today in this passage? What would it be like to be standing by the sea and witnessing this miracle of the Lord?
In what ways in your life do you feel unlovable, unredeemable, or unworthy? How can you let God speak to you in those things?
How often do you meditate on the cross and what Jesus does for us there? Take a few moments today to look at the crucifix and let Him speak to you about your worth to Him.
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"You are enough."
"You are greater I could imagine."
"Thank you for choosing me."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Share God's love with those you encounter today. Use kind words, small deeds, or other simple ways to help those around you who may be struggling to encounter God's love through you.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Liuzzi, a middle school religion teacher at St. John the Evangelist School in St John, IN.
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