Luke 8:26-39 (NRSV)
Verse 26Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. Verse 27As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. Verse 28When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me"- Verse 29for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Verse 30Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" He said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him. Verse 31They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. Verse 32Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Verse 33Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. Verse 34When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Verse 35Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Verse 36Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Verse 37Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. Verse 38The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, Verse 39"Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
Have you been so embarrassed by failure or ashamed over a fault that you wanted to crawl in a hole and pull it in after yourself? I’ve felt that way! I didn’t want anyone to notice me or what I’d done.
The cry, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” (v. 28), reveals painful shame, fear, and despair. Jesus heard the cry. He chose to notice the man, stop, and ask, “What is your name?” (v. 30). Jesus demonstrated that seeking someone’s name may lessen their embarrassment or shame and show genuine concern. Jesus compassionately calls us by name when he chooses us to become his siblings.
With Jesus’ call, God saves us from separation’s abyss (v. 31). God doesn’t leave us hiding in a hole. Instead, God chooses to crawl in the hole alongside us to restore us into relationship with Godself.
Steadfast God, thank you for choosing to hear our cries, call us by name, and restore us to you—even when we try to hide. Help us choose to reach out to all people who are suffering in despair’s dark hole. Amen.