1 [You’re in the moment now, a bitter root, a wandering eye, and then
The ties that bind start wearing thin... within.
You’re in the moment now, when all that you’ve been blessed with is not enough.
Here’s where the ground gets loose, here’s where the devils call your bluff.
(chorus) Stay strong! You are not lost. Come on, fix your eyes ahead.
There’s a new dawn to light our day, our day. We’ve gotta stay strong!
You and I run for the prize that lies ahead. We’ve come too far to lose our way.
2 [We’ve seen the tragic flaws, the tortured souls, the saints with feet of clay.
Here’s where sin becomes cliché. We’ve come through wilderness and
Watched the cloud by day, the burning sky into dawn. Have you forgotten who you are? Did you forget who’s trip you’re on?
Get up, there’s further to go. Get up, there’s more to be done. Get up, this witness is sure. Get up, this race can be won. This race can be won.
“Stay Strong” by Newsboys.
“Hold him tight!” one man yelled. “Don’t let him get loose again!”
A second man pulled hard on the chains. “I’m doing my best! It’s very difficult!”
“He’s too strong!” shouted a third man holding on to other chains. “How can we do this?”
“We need more strong people!” shouted a fourth man. “Right now! Hurry, people! He’s going to break free!”
The chains these man struggled to hold were attached to a man’s arms and legs. But not just any man. This one had strength of unusual power and a very frightening appearance. His naked body was covered with cuts that he had made himself with sharp rocks. The man growled at them like a monster, jerking his arms and legs to try and break free. Other people from the town quickly rushed to help, while others ran away from the area.
“These stronger chains and fetters are no good! I can hear them about to break!”
“Hold him down! Hold him down!”
“GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRR!!!!” The man pulled with all his might and the chains suddenly snapped off him easily. Now free, the citizens around him tried to hold back but he broke from their grasp and pushed them away. He ran at full speed from them and left the town in the country of the Gadarenes, opposite of Galilee.
Who is this wild strong man, you ask. Who is this that can break chains and runs around naked? I am he. I was not always like this. My life up to recently had been just like any other man. I tried to work hard and live a good life. If you asked me then if one day I would be like this I would have laughed at you. Now it actually happened and I can’t believe it.
My troubles began when I discovered the secrets of the darkness, completely by accident. Although my experience was scary, it also intrigued me and I had to go back and have more. I heard voices speaking things to me, revealing secrets to me. I felt like I was a part of something exciting and powerful. Not too long I felt something come inside of me, like some kind of dark being. I let it stay with me and thought it would be... a guide to me, or a spiritual friend, or something like that. But part of me knew I shouldn’t be involved with this and needed to let go. However, I didn’t.
After time a second being came into me, and I still did nothing. Later, a third, then a fourth. Then the beings held the door of my heart open and over time a flood of these things rushed into me and began to take over. My mind went dark. My body was no longer under my control. All I had left was my thoughts, and those were filled with evil voices whispering things to me. Things that I knew were evil, some I couldn’t understand.
“GRAAAAAAAAAARRRR!” I had escaped again from the people who tried to arrest me. No matter how hard they tried, the demons in me gave me the strength to break them like thin ropes. Now I ran towards my favorite dwelling place among the tombs, shouting strange things at the top of my lungs. Everyone stayed far away from the area to avoid the scary thing that I was.
I knew that I had gone too far. When I jumped into this I found myself in over my head faster than I could believe. Now all I wanted was to escape from these dark powers before I drowned in evil. But who could help me? I was powerless to my own powers. God seemed to ignore me and give up on me for my sin. Father, I thought in my restless mind, save me from myself! I beg you to save me! Please forgive me! I’m sorry. Why did I have to let my curiosity ruin my life? Don’t let me die! Don’t let them drag me down to the world of the dead! I am surrounded and helpless! Aaaaaaaaaaagh!!
The demons inside me caused me to hit myself and throw myself down to the ground.
“Silence!” the demons made me shout to myself. “It is too late! God hates you for what you’ve done! You are worthless and vile to him. You will soon die and He cannot save you! There is no hope!! Haaaaa haaaaaa haaaaa haaaaaaaaa!”
God, be merciful to me! I thought. Again, the demons tortured me for thinking this.
Suddenly they stopped and made me turn and look to the wide ocean. There was a small boat coming to shore at a steady pace. Who was on it? Why did this make them stop and stare?
“Oh no!” I shouted. “He’s coming here! We must escape!”
Who was coming? Who had made them so afraid? Nothing had made them act like this before. A new hope rose in me. It must be him! I thought. Jesus! Our land had heard much about this incredible man. He was supposedly a wise teacher of things and a very radical person that divided people with his actions and words. Some said he was the messiah who the prophets foretold would come some day to rescue all people. Others said He was a lunatic who spent time with bad people and said crazy things. Some even said He was the Son of God! But one thing everyone couldn’t deny, was that He could heal anyone of anything if they had faith. Blindness, leprosy, deafness, lameness... and even demons! Please, God, let it be him! I must meet Him!
The things wanted me to run in the opposite direction as fast as I could, but I determined to meet him. All of a sudden I could feel I had regained control of my legs! Thank you, God! I ran as fast as I could to the shore, and ignored the demons pleading for me not to.
“Stop!” I yelled. “Stop! Stop! STOP! Do not go any closer! That man will kill you if you approach him! Please stop!!!”
No, I will not listen to you any more! I want to be free of you! You will hold me back no more!
The boat arrived at shore and soon several men climbed out. There were 13 men, if I counted correctly, and one of them matched the description I had heard about Jesus. I had to get to him now or I might never be normal again.
As they set the vessel in place some of them noticed me running towards them and looked a little surprised, possibly even scared. Who could blame them? Here was a naked man covered with cuts and bruises charging at them like a wild animal. Jesus didn’t look afraid though. In fact, it seemed like He knew I was coming. The demons inside me screamed and begged me to turn back. Hope became stronger than it ever had before.
He looked into my eyes and I stared back into His. It seemed as though he was looking past the ugly creature I was, past the dark, blood-shot eyes, past the demons and straight into my soul. I could feel that He wanted to rescue me! He looked sternly at the demons in me and said, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”
I dropped to my knees and bowed down before his presence. The demons in me made me yell in a loud voice, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”
Have no pity on them! I thought. Do whatever you want to them, for they have tormented me! He calmly asked, “What is your name?”
I wanted to tell him my name but instead I said, “My name is Legion; for we are many. We beg you! Do not send us out of the country and into the abyss!” I turned and saw a great number of pigs feeding by the moutains. Then I said to him, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.”
Why they wanted to go in the pigs, I didn’t know. And why He had pity on them, I also don’t understand. All I knew is that if they would finally leave me I would be the happiest person alive. Jesus nodded his head and allowed them to do so. Instantly I felt like my chest had burst open and a flood of creatures had exited my body like a rush of water. My mind cleared up, my body was mine again. Oh, what joy and bliss! Hallelujah! Oh praise His name!
Suddenly all the pigs, almost 2,000 of them, went crazy. All of them ran away from those feeding them and charged full speed to a steep cliff, plunging into the water where they drowned. Again, I don’t know why they made them do this but it had to be one of the most wonderful sights I had ever seen. Praise His name forever!
The caretakers of the pigs ran back to town like a herd of gazelle, and probably told everyone they could about this scary experience. I was given new warm clothes to wear and almost wept at the the wonderful comfort and love shown to me. Soon many people rushed out to see Jesus and I and the 12 disciples. When they saw me sitting at the feet of Jesus with clothes and acting calm, everyone gasped and couldn’t believe their eyes. The eye-witnesses told the people everything that had just happened without taking a single breath. Everyone quickly rushed to Jesus and begged him to leave the area.
Leave? Why would they want Him to leave? The Son of God had come to their land to help them and do great things, and they didn’t want him because they were scared or upset over the pigs?! I was totally dumbdounded.
Jesus said nothing but turned to go back to the boat and the disciples followed Him. A number of them also seemed disappointed or confused. I knew right away that I had to go with this Man. I had to follow Him everywhere, see His miracles, feel His love, work for Him, and be a part of His great mission. I caught up with Him and jumped in His path, bowing down again and begging that He would let me be with Him. Jesus smiled at me, but shook His head. He looked into my heart and said with love and urgency, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”
At first I felt veryy disappointed, but I knew that if this was important for Him, it was important to me. I would gladly do it. Much had been forgiven to me, and much I wanted to give in return. I stood up again, looked into his face and said full of enthusiasm, “Yes! I will do this with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength! It is the least I could ever do! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Jesus smiled again and then returned to the boat with the others.
I wasted no time at all and charged straight to Decapolis and shouted the news to everyone what this Man had done for me. “Everyone! Everyone! Listen to me! I used to be possessed by a legion of demons and had no control until this man Jesus came to me and cast them all out! It’s true! Ask anyone who used to know me! He came all the way to our land and I was the only person He healed! You must believe me! There is no doubt in my mind that He is the messiah, the deliverer, and the Son of God! He is here and there is now hope for all people!”
And all marveled at this.
Matthew 8:22-33, Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-40
2 Corinthians 5:17
One more thing: Until reading Matthew, I forgot that there were two demon-possessed men, and I may try to change this later to mention that.