The man was clothed and sitting listening to Jesus.That was how the people of the town saw him after they heard about the man and the pigs and Jesus.
Earlier in the day, things were different. Earlier in the day, the man had been out of his mind. Or maybe something else was in his mind. And he was terrified and panicky. You know that sense where everything feels like pressure, every contact is torture? The man tore off clothes, tore off chains.
“Don’t torture me,” is what the man said to Jesus. His first recorded prayer. Jesus had started to talk to the demons filling the man’s body, fighting for control of his awareness. And the man, possessed, is a most interested bystander for his own life.
The demons leave. The man is released.
There is no description of where the clothes are from, who has provided for him. But now, the man was clothed and sitting listening to Jesus.
He wanted to stay there for the foreseeable future. There was no back home. There was no place for him. Everyone was terrified of him. Everyone pitied him. He’d been wrecked for a long time. He’s been reliably unreliable.
When the people of the town come, they want Jesus to leave, because of the fear of his power. One friend commenting on the fear of the crowd said, “Someone who can order the evil around is either really good, or really bad. And who in that town could feel confident in judging which?”
There’s only one person who can answer that question. The man. The man who saw from the inside the clash of evil and good, who felt from the inside the crush of evil and the loving release of Jesus. That’s who can tell the story of the work of God.
That’s what Jesus told him to do. That’s what he did.
One of a few reflections on Luke 8:26-39.