One day, Jesus and his disciples went across the lake in a boat. In the place where they stopped, there was a man. Evil spirits were living in him. He lived near the place where they buried dead people. He ran about day and night crying out and shouting. He did not wear any clothes. And he would cut himself with sharp stones.
The people in that town would often catch him. They would tie him with chains. But he would always break the chains and get away. No one was strong enough to hold him.
When Jesus got out of the boat, this man ran down to him. He fell on his hands and knees in front of Jesus. And Jesus commanded the evil spirits to come out of him. But with a scream, the evil spirits said, ‘Jesus, son of the most high God, please do not trouble me.’
And Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ So the evil spirits said, ‘We are an army.’ They said this because many evil spirits lived in him. And they asked Jesus, ‘Do not send us to some far away place!’
Now, there was a big group of pigs feeding near them. So the evil spirits said to Jesus, ‘Send us into those pigs.’ So Jesus allowed them to do this. Then, the evil spirits left the man and went into the pigs. And the pigs went crazy. They ran down the hill and into the lake. And they all drowned.
Now, some men were taking care of the pigs. When they saw this, they ran back to town. And they told everyone along the way what had happened. Soon, a large crowd of people came out to the shore of the lake to see this. And they found the man who had been filled with evil spirits. He was wearing clothes. He was quiet. And he was sitting at the feet of Jesus.
This made the people afraid. So they asked Jesus to leave their region.
So, Jesus turned to get into the boat to leave. But the man came to him and asked, ‘Can I come with you?’
But Jesus said, ‘No. Go back to your home and to your family. Tell them about this great thing that God has done for you.’ And that is what the man did. But he did not only go to his home. He went through the entire region. He told everyone what Jesus had done for him. And everyone that heard his story was astonished.