“Bound” by Connor Tarter. CC BY-SA 2.0
A demon-possessed man in the time of Jesus wants freedom, but he cannot find it anywhere. No one wants to help him, and he lives in torment on a seaside wasteland. When he meets Jesus, his demons are frightened, and another demon-possessed man joins him. Both their demons plead with Jesus. Will Jesus heal both men? Will he choose one and leave the other, or will he in his justice and wrath send them both immediately to hell?
Author note: Although most of the gospels relate the story of one demon-possessed man, in Matthew it speaks of two men. It seems to me that most likely the other gospels just do not mention the other man, so I went ahead and made him one of my characters.
I am free, roaming. Even when they try to bind me, my demons tear the chains. I am too strong for other men. They can never get to me.
In a deeper and more real sense, though, I am bound. I have been bound for ever so long.
My demons . . . they torture me. They tear me to shreds in every way imaginable—spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally.
I am naked. I am a dead man, and I live in dead places, in desert catacombs. People say that I look like a monster, and every time I see my reflection, I cringe.
When I look down at my hands, I want to run. They are covered in blood, and so is my mind. I want to kill myself. I dare not. Half of me wants to die, but the other half, the half that is still human and not demon, knows that I will burn forever if I do not find some way out.
No one wants to help me. They are terrified of me. At least they don’t have to be me.
My demons laugh at me. It’s my fault, and I know it. I prayed for Baal to enter me as a child, and now he has.
Now I’m here, in this wasteland, lost forever when I could be found. I want to be found, but the spirits don’t.
I don’t know how old I am. It’s been like this for an eternity it feels, and I can hardly remember a time before I was a monster.
My head jerks. The demons feel some evil boding.
Next to me, on the other side of one of the great rocks in this seaside wasteland, I see another man stumbling forward. He looks like me. . . beaten and sick. I’ve seen him before, but I try to avoid him. He is one of the only other demon-possessed people I’ve ever seen.
My demons are not concerned with him though. There’s something else on their mind.
A sudden, terror-filled whining fills my head. They’ve been caught. Now I see what they’re afraid of. A boat has pulled by the seaside on the edge of the rocky terrain. A tall figure steps out, and the demons thrust my body to the ground so that I cannot look at the man’s face.
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” they shout in unison.
I hear more shouting too, coming from the demons of the other man.
My heart beats faster. Our demons are afraid of this “Jesus,” and they say He is the Son of God. That must mean that he can free me. Maybe he will forgive, or else, maybe he will send me straightaway to hell, the place where I belong.
“I adjure you by God, do not torment me,” my demons yell, shaking me wildly.
My soul is pleading to be saved from this bondage I have lived with for so long, but everything coming out of my mouth is in fear of this man, not love. The demons still speak through me.
The other man is also yelling. Jesus turns his attention off of me and towards him. Will Jesus heal us both? What if he chooses the other man, and leaves me in this state of torment?
Jesus’ voice comes into focus. He’s saying something, but the demons only keep on shouting, hating him.
He’s saying, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
Just as I am naked in the eyes of everyone, so my soul feels naked in the eyes of this man. He’s calling to my spirits to leave. He wants me to be free.
I can see in my mind’s eye an image of the other man standing up, completely changed, and Jesus turning away. No. He’s still there. He’s not done.
The other man’s demons are still shrieking. They are not leaving.
“What is your name?” Jesus asks, turning his attention towards my demons.
“My name is Legion, for we are many,” I hear my voice growl.
Their grip is tightening on me. They do not want to lose hold, and they are dying of fright at the words of this man.
His voice speaks love to me, freedom. I’ll finally be free, but the demons don’t want to leave.
“Send us to the pigs; let us enter them,” they shout.
I do not know of what they speak. I know farmers come by here every once in a while, but I haven’t seen them yet today. I don’t care. Whatever pigs they’re talking about, I know that if they go into them then I’ll be free. Even pigs don’t deserve this, though, and I, of all people, certainly don’t deserve freedom.
“Come out of these man, you unclean spirit! Come out!” Jesus’ words echo through my being, and then. . .
I’m free! Finally, free!
A great weight is lifted off my shoulders, and I feel light flooding through me, the light of Jesus.
I run to the man, staring into his brown eyes. He beckons me closer, his hands outstretched. The other crazy man is running beside me, and he looks somehow different, new.
We collide, Jesus and two broken sinners, in the warmest, strongest, most releasing embrace I have ever felt, and I see myself. My hands are no longer bloody. I am no longer naked, and neither is the other man. We are clothed in white, holy robes.
No words are spoken, but I feel an insurmountable joy and closeness to Jesus, the man with flowing brown hair and a voice powerful enough to command evil spirits.
God! He is God, and I’m not despicable anymore because He, the real one. . . more real than my demons, loves me, the worst of sinners, with an unrelenting, unconditional love.