Mark 5:18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[c]how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
This section of Mark 5 is not about the town’s people getting mad and the evil spirits manipulating Jesus into sending them into pigs. I am connected to verse 9 when he asks the man “What is your name?” There is something touching in that moment where Jesus begins to establish the relationship in order to process change in this man’s life. The recorder did not mention the man’s name even after Jesus asks him. It is possible the man did not say. The man mentions the name he is more than likely known as in the community, Legion. The name Legion meaning many, a legion, a body of soldiers whose number differed at different times. In the time of Augustus seems to have consisted of 6826 men (i.e. 6100 foot soldiers, and 726 horsemen). Think, here he refers to himself as, what has happened to him and not the name he was given at birth. Matthew says the many demons that have entered him. Think about the names you have been called or things that have happened in your life, abused, beaten, criticized, raped, drugged, assaulted, dishonored, neglected, ignored, called names, labeled, hated, back-stabbed and cheated. Or what we have done to others, ditto.
Some of us even wish we could change our names. The history and the issues have run too deep and if we were a new person, moved to a new place and did a new thing would solve some of the problems. If someone asked you your name you would not say “cheated.” You would tell them your name, but may times when you say your name people can tell what has happened to you. Don’t mask it; I am only saying people with a discerning spirit can tell.
I remember Suzie Orman at one of her finacial specials on PBS asking a woman her name. After she said her name______, Suzie corrected her and said, “No your name is _____.” The difference was Suzie said her name with authority and meaning. The lady repeated “Yes, my name is____.” This time she said it with authority. The woman’s problem was a financial one. Suzie knew she had financial trouble by the way she said her name. If you asked her name she probably would have said”Broke.” Imagine with me, “Man you broke!” “No I am blessed!” “Not Yeah, Man I’m broke.”
The man wants to continue on with Jesus, he wants a change of place. Jesus says “No, go home to Decapolis and tell your family what the Lord has done for you.” Don’t run from your old names, just go back and tell them what the Lord has down for you. Celie in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, when Mr. called her black, skinny and ugly, turned and had a new attitude that showed him who she had become. That confidence soon turns to fury—over her rapes, her beatings, and the love and affection the men in her life have kept from her. She had become the royal color of purple. A passage near the end of the novel, in which Shug says that she believes that it “pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” Royal has now become our new name. I Peter 2:9, But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light…”
Jesus tells him (we shall call him, “Blessed”) go home; you are now this marvelous light that they will see. Today, wake up, assume and declare your new position in the world, Royalty. Say your name___. They will be Amazed.