He was a guy. He was sitting, calmly, listening to Jesus. He looked normal.
And he was.
People from the neighborhood came out to see Jesus. They heard about pigs flying. Flying like lemmings that is, leaping from cliffs like ones possessed. They heard about a huge stampede, an economic crisis in an agricultural community.
When the people found Jesus, they saw this guy, sitting calmly, listening to Jesus.
People took one look at him and were terrified.
Everyone from the neighborhood knew him. He wasn’t supposed to be normal. He was supposed to uncontrollable. He was supposed to be Bruce Banner stuck in Incredible Hulk mode. He was supposed to break chains and defy reason. He was supposed to be possessed.
He lived among the dead, crying out to unhearing ears. No one bothered him among the tombs. No one cared anymore, now that he had moved away from town, away from the social constraints that no longer constrained him.
They heard his cries, I suppose, at night. Cries of anguish before he cut himself. Cries of pain after. But at least the pain of cut flesh was real, blood more tangible than the torturing voices in his head.
Jesus landed on the coast one day. Talked to the man, or more accurately, to the spirit that filled him, consumed him. Sent the spirit into the pigs, who ran off the cliff and drowned.
That’s the part we focus on, the flying pigs, the evil spirit Legion. We wonder whether it could be true.
The man, however, knew how out of his mind he had been. He knew the miracle of normal. And when the people in terror begged Jesus to leave, Jesus left a little reminder: a man, once wrecked, now normal, to say simply, “Jesus did this.”
The full story is in Mark 5:1-20.