Friends, today’s Gospel shows Jesus driving the unclean spirit from the Gerasene demoniac. What we see here on vivid display is Jesus the miracle worker.
Modern thinkers tend to be wary of this dimension. For instance, Thomas Jefferson took a straight razor to the pages of the Gospels and cut out everything that smacked of the supernatural—miracles, exorcisms, and so on. The problem, of course, is that he had to make an absolute mess of Mark’s Gospel, which is positively chock-a-block with such things.
Jefferson’s contemporary, the great modern philosopher David Hume, wrote a powerfully influential text against miracles. He claimed that since the laws of nature were set, miracles were, strictly speaking, impossible. Accounts of them, he concluded, were the result of the foggy or wishful thinking of primitive people.
But though God typically lets the universe run according to its natural rhythms and patterns, what is to prevent God from shaping it and influencing it occasionally in remarkable ways, in order to signal his purpose and presence?