"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Mark 5:1-20 Commentary
by Micah D. Kiel
As Jesus disembarks on the other side of the sea, the disciples fade from the story.
A ghastly figure takes center stage. He's possessed, he howls, he dashes himself with stones. His strength is such that no human figure can bind or control him. From his first encounter with Jesus, there is no question who is in control. Jesus is the strong one with the upper hand; the demoniac cowers and asks that he be left alone.
When it becomes apparent that Jesus will expel the demons (their name is Legion, for there are many of them), they ask instead to be sent into a nearby herd of swine. Jesus permits this, and the herd of pigs rushes headlong into the lake and drowns.
A few years ago, I was teaching about this story in a small, rural Roman Catholic parish somewhere in the middle of Iowa. A man in overalls (all the men were wearing overalls) in the back row raised his hand and commented: "Everyone in this town is a hog farmer, and I don't know if you know this, but pigs can swim." Not being intimately familiar with swine, this came as new information to me.
This launched ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 021: Gerasene demoniac
January 22, 2012
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester for "I Love to Tell the Story," a weekly conversation on the narrative lectionary. This week's reading is Gerasene demoniac: Mark 5:1-20.