Vacation time grips the imagination of Westerners. In Britain, it is now possible to buy an airline ticket on the Internet for a few pounds, then land in a European city for a “quick break” boosted by the elixir of novelty and the thrill of just being able to do it. A different language, a different currency, a different climate and adventures await. And why not? The best way to understand your own culture is to live in another.
Gerasa, however, is hardly a favorite holiday destination—in the first century or today. But in Luke’s Gospel it provides analogies, contrasts and perspectives on Israel. A man lives in dire straits; naked, among the dead. He recognizes Jesus, but sees him as a threat. Then Jesus asks him his name.