My name is Thad. It's early Christmas morning. But I do not want to tell you the traditional Christmas story. I want to tell you a different story about Jesus.
This fall, me, Jesus, and the other guys were traveling by boat near the Gadarenes. We crossed the lake, got out, and traveled a short distance. We saw a cemetary with the Swine Growers of Galilee (SGG) beside it. Then the really weird stuff started happening.
When we were still a long ways from the cemetary this freaky dude came running out. He ran up to Jesus, fell on his face, and began to worship Jesus.
This guy was S-T-R-A-N-G-E. At first I could not tell if he was crazy or an epilectic. I soon found out he was possessed. He lived in the graves. I latter found out people had tried to control him with ropes, chains and shackles. Nothing could hold him. He broke free from everything. The locals told us he would wander around in the hills at night, screaming. They said he would take rocks and hit himself till his skin would bust open and bleed. See what I mean by "strange"?
Anyway, when he ran up to Jesus he started saying stuff like "Jesus is the Son of the Most High God!" Then he would beg Jesus not to torture him.
Jesus must have recognized he was possessed. Jesus asked him what his name was. He called himself "Legion," explaining to Jesus there were actually many demons in him. (As odd as you might that that was, it was the first thing that made sense to me.) Jesus, with a tone of authority, told the evil spirits to come out of him.
The spirits began begging Jesus not to send them to "the place." My brother Mark called it something like "the place in-between", but another brother, Luke called it the "bottomless pit or abyss". I think they were describing that place were spirits go after death --- not on earth but not in hell or heaven yet either. So as an alternative, the spirits in Legion ask if they could enter the 2000 pigs being fed next to the cemetary.
I did not see Jesus' face, but he might have smirked a bit. I think he knew what could happen. Jesus allowed them to get in the pigs.
You should have seen what happened next! The evil spirits were more than the pigs could stand. The pigs went berserk! They began squeeling, jumping over each other, rooting up everything wildly, even biting each other. Then they stampeded down the hill into the sea. Can you just see two thousand pigs jumping in the water?
I did see Jesus as he watched them drowning. He knew the spirits were going to the abyss anyway as each pig died. Their idea did not work.
The employees of SGG trotted off to town and started telling people what had happened. Those people came out to the sea to see the dead pigs in the water.
What they also saw was amazing. It was a seated Legion. He had cleaned up the best he could. He was acting quite normal and thinking correctly. He was not howling at the moon. He had clothes on for the first time in long time. This sudden transformation in Legion, a change they could do, was more than they could comprehend. They, after having tried to restrain him, realized how powerful a miracle this was. Such power they could not understand. So they did the only thing they could think of -- they asked Jesus to leave the area.
Jesus never stayed where he was not wanted.
Jesus lead us back to the boat. While we were getting in, Legion came running. He began to beg Jesus to let him come along. Tom and Bart started making a place for him when Jesus did something unexpected. I do not think I will ever forget it.
Jesus gave Legion a purpose and a mission. "Go home to your friends," Jesus began. "Tell them the great thing Jesus has done for you. And tell them how he had compassion on you," he said.
Jesus started with a crazed man. His life was completely out of control. Jesus not only removed the problem but also gave direction and purpose for his life.
Thanks for reading my less-than-traditional Christmas story.
Does life seem out of control? Do you have so many problems you are afraid to count? Are the problems 'un-fix-able'? You don't know what to do with yourself? Why are you on this planet? Is life supposed to have purpose?
Jesus is the answer to every question.
Start by reading an easy-to-read version of John. Learn who he is -- God's Son. Begin today! If you search for him, he will get life under control and give you purpose and direction.
If I can help you, email me. (LINK TO EMAIL)