Apostle to the Gerasenes

A most unlikely apostle indeed. It was the possessed lunatic, who dwelt among the graves, out from whom were cast many devils. The devil’s voice claimed that their name was Legion” and legion means a thousand. Demons like to flaunt their imagined importance and use titles such as this. But Saint Luke tells us simply that “many devils were entered into him” (8:30). Enough there were, nevertheless, that they entered into a herd of swine and ran them off a cliff. Saint Mark gives the number of swine at about two thousand. So, that’s a lot of evil spirits infesting one man.

These must have been very pathetic demons pained by agoraphobia to be sure. It must have been awful crowded in that one body. The Legion liked scaring people and tearing the flesh of this victim without killing him. Demons need a live body to exact their frustration before the final day. This man, whose story is so innocently told in the gospels, was prime prey for the sorry “Legion.”

It is interesting that Jesus asked the demoniac what his name was. Why? It would seem because He wanted to show how great was His power over all demons no matter how many or high.

The Gerasenes would have nothing of this. How unlike the Samaritans who welcomed Our Lord.

Brother Francis wrote a poem about them.

The Prayer of the Gerasens

The Gerasenes certainly

Know how to pray

In polite dignity and

Solemn display,

And their prayer was answered

On the very same day.

Now this is the substance

Of what they had to say:

“We want our swine

And demons to stay

And please, God, leave us

And go away.


“And all the multitude of the country of the Gerasens besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear” (Luke 8:37).

What happens next is intriguing. The man who had been delivered by Our Lord had immense gratitude. No wonder about that. So great was his gratitude that he didn’t want to be left behind in his own country. Perhaps he was afraid people would be afraid of him. So, he asked if he could get into the boat and go away with Jesus and the Apostles. But Jesus “sent him away” and said “[No, rather] Return to thy house, and tell how great things God hath done to thee. And he went through the whole city, publishing how great things Jesus had done to him” (vs. 39)

The word of the Lord strengthened him and cast out all fear. We do not know the name of this man, scripture doesn’t provide that. But we do know that he preached the Name of Jesus throughout the whole city and testified to the “great things” Jesus had done for him. And we do know that he was “sent” by God. The word “apostle” means “one sent.” So, we can say that this man was an apostle to his gentile people, the Gerasenes.