At that time, Jesus arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. And as he stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons; for a long time he had worn no clothes, and he lived not in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him, and said with a loud voice, “What have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beseech you, do not torment me.” For Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. [For many a time it had seized him; he was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters, but he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness.] Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. And they begged Jesus not to command them to depart into the abyss.
Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; and they begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them leave. Then the demons came out of the man entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus, and 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. And those who had seen it told them how he who had been possessed with demons was healed.
Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gadarenes asked Jesus to depart from them; for they were seized with great fear; so he got into a boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with Jesus; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare all the God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming through the whole city all that Jesus had done for him.
1. After the crowds of people find out that Jesus healed the man and sent the demons into the heard of swine how do they react? How do they feel? What do they ask Jesus to do? Why?
2. What scares you or makes you feel afraid? Why is it scary? What do you want to do when you are scared?
3. How is your reaction to what scares you similar to the people in the gospel? How is it different?
4. Why do you think the people were afraid of Jesus?
5. During Divine Liturgy, listen for the places where the priest and deacon say the word fear. (During the Anaphora and right before Communion) Why do they tell us to stand with fear and draw near with fear?
6. Why is God someone to be feared sometimes? Is this the same kind of fear that you feel when the things that scare you happen? How is it the same, or different?
7. Do you think we should be afraid of Jesus in the same way the people in the gospel were afraid of him? Why or why not?
8. Think back to what the deacon or priest tells us before communion: “with fear of God, and faith and love, draw near.” How does a person approach in fear and in love at the same time? Why can we approach God even though we fear Him?