For last year’s Good Friday service, College Park had a series of monologues imagining that minor characters from the Gospels were witnessing Jesus’ crucifixion. Each of them had an encounter with Jesus that changed their life; each encounter is connected to an aspect of Jesus’ suffering and death. They’re more or less answering the question, “Why are you here?” I was able to write three of those monologues, and I’d like to share them here!
The third is the man who was possessed by a legion of demons.
I had been possessed by demons – a host, a legion of them. They would swarm over me and then let me wake up surrounded by destruction, usually bleeding. My people drove me out of the city when they couldn’t restrain me anymore. I don’t really blame them; I’d have done the same thing to someone else, I think. But I lived among the tombs in the countryside: naked, hurting, alone with my demons.
When Jesus stepped ashore from the boat, we all felt that something different was happening. He’d come looking for us. I felt it, and the demons felt it too, and they had nowhere to run.
I don’t remember exactly what happened; they were speaking, not me. But I remember, with a clarity I almost never had in those days, that I saw his face. It was like a lighthouse in a storm. The part of me that was still me fixed on that, and I saw him looking at me – at the part of me that was still me. Jesus spoke, and all of a sudden the storm was … gone. The demons were gone! His disciples gave me clothes, and Jesus talked with me until all the village came to see us.
He didn’t let me follow him after that – he sent me into my village and to the whole Decapolis to tell everyone what he’d done for me. To show them what he’d done. But even though I wasn’t with him in person, the memory of his face stayed with me. I had a feeling, a certainty in my soul that he was with me still.
When I heard he was in Jerusalem for the Passover, I looked everywhere to find him, but I was told he’d been arrested. When I arrived here, at this hill, a large crowd had already gathered, and I pushed through to see.
But when I made it to the front of the crowd, almost everyone around him were screaming hate and mockery. I saw one of his disciples and his mother, but other than that … no one who’d been with him. No one helped or comforted him. He was alone.
I even heard him ask, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Those were the most desolate words I’d ever heard. Jesus called God his Father; but right then, even God had abandoned him. He’s up there dying, and he’s dying alone.
I’m here because this man approached me when everyone else had abandoned me, and I want to understand why he’s dying so utterly and completely alone.