Exploring the Bible / Faith / New Testament

How many crazy men were in that graveyard?

Let’s play one of these things is not like the other. Which one of these three verses is not like the other?

Matthew 8:28-34

Mark 5:1-20

Luke 8:26-39

Answer: Matthew 8:28-34

I once took Psychology 101 in college (so clearly I am an expert on the subject). In the class, we learned that not only do ALL people embellish stories but we also come to REMEMBER stories differently if we retell the embellished version enough times. Our brain will block out the actual events and rewrite the memory. That’s interesting but the writers of the gospels can’t have fallen prey to this tendency, right?

When I get to heaven, I can’t wait to say, “Hey God, can you roll the tape of Jesus casting out the demons from the man (or men) in the graveyard? Let’s settle this discrepancy once and for all. Was there one or two men?” I can just see Matthew on one side of the heaven screening room and Luke and Mark on the other side waiting to watch the replay to see whose gospel is a more accurate retelling of the events. How many men were there that Jesus cast the demons (the legion of demons) out of before sending them into the pigs who subsequently drowned themselves?

gospel_demonman

There are a lot of explanations about WHY this gospel story could differ from one account to the next.

Here’s one.

Here’s another.

But, I don’t need an explanation. In fact, I don’t want one. Most of the explanations focus on why a mistake could have been made (maybe one man was more vocal than the other etc.). If you believe that the Bible is divinely inspired by God, it also follows that this might not be a mistake at all.

Jesus taught in parables but even the stories like that of the demon pigs (where Jesus was doing, not preaching) can be parables. The miracle of the Bible is that it is applicable to every person ever. I am convinced that not a single part of the Bible is irrelevant to anyone. God foresaw every circumstance in which the Bible would be utilized and made the stories transcend race, gender, age, time periods, wealth, status, etc. etc.

This is incredibly difficult to wrap our heads around. There are people who need 2 men in the graveyard and people who need 1 man in the graveyard. There are people who are letting the devil take hold of them as part of a group and there are people letting the devil take hold of just them. There are even people who need to take a lesson from there being 2 men in Matthew and 1 man in Mark and Luke.

Why is there no explanation for the difference? Because there are many explanations and different explanations are needed by different individuals and their unique circumstances to get them where God needs them to go.

Even more complex is the idea that we get different things from the bible depending on WHEN in our lives we read it and even HOW we read it or WHO we read it with.

Why is the Bible the word of life? Because we get what we need to live from it when/how we need it. It guides us where we need to go. This book is what magic truly looks like.

One thought on “How many crazy men were in that graveyard?

  1. Very good points! I have found that sometimes the question is more important than the answer as regards our relationship with the Lord. Blessings.

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