If you look for a theme in the next several weeks of Gospel readings, you will find that there is a great deal about discipleship and the preacher may well want to organize his sermons accordingly. Proper 7, which kicks off these enumerated Sundays following Pentecost, recounts the casting out of a legion of demons from a man in the region of the Gerasenes. After Jesus does this, the people come out and find the young man in his right mind and clothed, sitting at Jesus feet. It is the posture of a disciple. This change is so dramatic that it terrifies the locals. They ask Jesus to leave. The man who had been cleansed of his demons asks to go with Jesus in the boat. You can imagine why on both accounts. The townspeople realize that Jesus’ power is great if even this man was changed. Such power often frightens us. The demoniac’s desire to go with Jesus also makes sense. Demoniacs make bad neighbors and his neighbors had been trying to control his outbursts for years. He surely was aware of just how afraid they had been of him and what a reputation he had.
Jesus, however, does not let the man in the boat. His discipleship will take another shape. He sends him into the very community which he had once terrorized. He is supposed to tell people what God had done for him. It is a evangelism technique which God regularly uses. Even the Apostle Paul fits into this mold in a sense, having been turned from white-hot persecutor into ardent promoter of Christianity.
We are not demoniacs, cleansed of a legion of demons, but we are all baptized Christians, cleansed in that flood. The core of following Jesus is simply opening up our mouths to tell what He has done for us. It is not memorizing the bible and its accounts of what Jesus did for other people, it is simply telling our own story of God’s grace shown to us. Luke tells us that he went throughout the whole town telling what God had done. I am sure that his neighbors, once they got over the shock of his transformation, must have been eager to hear that story. Our neighbors might well be eager to hear our story.