“Christ’s Redemption & Our Response, Part 2:

Through the Eyes of the Gerasenes”

Mark 5:1-20

April 30, 2023

Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service

Pastor Nicoletti

The Reading of the Word

We return this morning to Mark 5:1-20.

Last week we considered the events of this text as they would have been seen through the eyes of Jesus’s Jewish disciples. This morning we’ll consider the same events, but we will focus on how they would have been perceived through the eyes of the Gerasenes – the people who were dwelling in the land which Jesus suddenly and disruptively arrived in.

With that in mind, please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning:

5:1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

This is the word of the Lord. (Thanks be to God.)

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]

Let’s pray …

Prayer of Illumination

Lord, how can we keep our way pure?

By guarding it according to your Word.

Help us now to seek you with our whole hearts.

Keep us from wandering from your commandments.

Let us store up your word in our hearts,

so that we will not turn from you.

Grant this for Jesus’s sake. Amen.

[Based on Psalm 119:9-11]


So today we are considering this passage through the eyes of the Gerasenes – the people of the region that Jesus arrived in, in verse one.

And a good entry-point to doing that, I think, is to recognize how strange and perplexing the response of the Gerasenes is in this passage.

Think about what happens here. It would seem that the Gerasenes have been terrorized by this man with an unclean spirit for some time. We’re told in verse four that this man had often been bound. Presumably, it was the Gerasenes who had tried repeatedly to bind him. But nothing worked – he always broke the shackles and chains apart. We’re also told that “No one had the strength to subdue him.” It sounds like that was not a guess, but something the Gerasenes had testified to from experience – they had tried to subdue the man with an unclean spirit, but had been unsuccessful.

And such attempts are not surprising. The man sounds like a terror to the region. He was living, we read in verse five, not just among the tombs, but also in the mountains, and in the area where they cared for livestock, as verse eleven indicates. This man was always hovering on the edges of the community, perceived as a regular threat to the people – a strong man, frightening in appearance, crying out day and night, wounding himself with stones. 

The man with an unclean spirit would be a source of community fear and distress. And then Jesus shows up, and he heals him – by verse fifteen, the man is healed, sitting before Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. It’s a miraculous healing, and it would seem that a long nightmare had been ended for the Gerasenes. We would expect a celebration from the people: maybe a party to be held in Jesus’s honor! We would expect shouts of thanks and praise as they enter a new era for their town – one of peace and wholeness. That’s the response we would expect.

But instead … when the Gerasenes see what Jesus has done, we’re told in verse fifteen that they were afraid … and in verse seventeen that they begged Jesus to depart from their region.

That’s a perplexing response. It doesn’t fit with our expectations. And so it’s worth stopping and digging deeper to learn what’s going on here.

As we do, we’ll see three pairs of things. We’ll see:

  • Two types of costs for the Gerasenes
  • Two types of scapegoats, and
  • Two types of responses to Jesus’s healing work.

So two types of costs, two types of scapegoats, and two types of responses.

Two Types of Costs

The first thing we should note, as we try to better understand the response of the Gerasenes, are the two types of costs that came to them in this passage.

As we’ve said there would seem to be obvious benefits to the people when Jesus healed this man: No more terror in the mountains. No more crying out from him in the middle of the night. No more town meetings to come up with another scheme to try to bind and restrain him. 

But there were also real costs.

And those included a financial cost and a social cost.

A Financial Cost

First, for at least some of the people, there was a steep financial cost to Jesus healing this man. And that cost was the pigs.

We read in verses eleven through thirteen:

11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

Now, those verses may raise a lot of different questions for us. But for someone in the first century, one of the biggest questions they would have would be economic.

Two thousand pigs drowning was a huge financial loss.

As commentator James Edwards writes: “Two thousand pigs represented an enormous livelihood, and their loss an economic catastrophe. The good done to the demoniac resulted in great misfortune for the swineherds.” [Edwards, 159]

The healing of the man led to catastrophic financial losses for some people. And even for those who didn’t lose livestock in what happened, they must have wondered, if Jesus stuck around and kept healing people … whether their wealth or their assets could be at risk next.

Seen in this way … it’s not shocking that they asked Jesus to leave. He had brought economic loss on some of them, and might bring it on others too. 

And frankly … in their eyes, maybe the healing and restoration of one man possessed by unclean spirits wasn’t worth such a high economic cost.

And before we judge the Gerasenes too harshly … let’s acknowledge that we are often not so different in our own thinking. For all the talk about choice and autonomy, it’s undeniable that in our culture’s embrace of abortion and euthanasia, a very real component is the pitting of the value of a human being against the financial cost of caring for that human being. The value of allowing continued life for an unborn baby is weighed against the economic costs that baby will incur – either to the mother or to society. The value of the elderly or chronically ill receiving ongoing care is weighed against the costs of that care. And before those who oppose abortion and euthanasia pat themselves on the back too much, we should note that some who are pro-life in those areas, can also be very comfortable shifting into the same financial mindset when it comes to things like asylum seekers from deeply troubled parts of the world. Even when we hear of the horrors that refugees may be fleeing, many are comfortable arguing that the financial costs of assisting them … are just not worth it. And, setting political differences aside, experience shows that when affordable housing for the homeless comes up, Americans across the political spectrum can often unite around the conviction that as important as they think affordable housing is for those in need … they don’t want it anywhere near their neighborhood. After all … it might affect their housing values.

Now – in each of those situations, financial realism is necessary. Goodwill alone will not provide childcare for a newborn, or medical care for the elderly, or social services to an immigrant or the homeless. I’m not saying we can ignore financial realities.

What I am saying is that, like the Gerasenes … most of us have some category of people, who, when the topic of helping or healing them comes up … it’s far too easy for us to look at the financial costs, shrug, and simply say it’s not worth it. Whether on a personal level, or on a societal level, we value wealth over those particular people.

And that’s what the G were doing when they set the value of this man’s healing against the value of the pigs they had lost.

Healing one person often comes at a financial cost for someone else. 

But where we can be tempted to value our wealth over other people, Jesus, in this passage, doesn’t even hesitate in how he weighs those two in the balance. He doesn’t even ask permission of the owners of the pigs. The values are clear in his eyes. And so the man is healed, and the pigs are lost. And we’re not given any indication that Jesus apologized or felt conflicted about that. [Edwards, 159]

The question for us is … when others have a need … especially others who we find off-putting and repellant … do we approach the financial costs of helping them more like Jesus does … or more like the Gerasenes do?

How do we respond to the financial costs of healing others?

A Social Cost

That’s one type of cost our text raises … but it’s not the only type of cost.

Because it’s not just what happened to the pigs that upset the Gerasenes – Mark makes that clear. In verses fifteen and sixteen he tells us that it was also the healing of the man itself that distressed them, and led them to ask Jesus to leave.

This isn’t just about finances. There’s a social element here as well. The people respond to the healing of this man not with the celebration we might expect, but with fear, and with a rejection of the one who healed him.

What’s going on with that? What was the social cost of this man being healed?

To better understand that we need to move on to our second point and consider the concept of scapegoats.

So the first thing we see here are two types of costs for the Gerasenes of Jesus’s healing work – a financial cost and some sort of social cost.

Two Types of Scapegoats

The second concept we see here is two types of scapegoats.

Our text pushes us to consider pagan scapegoating, and then Christian scapegoating.

And again, I think Mark points us to this theme from the Old Testament by the way he tells this story. It seems to me that the pattern of the man’s spiritual problems being laid on an animal, and that animal then being sent away, would have led Mark’s Jewish readers to think of the rites of the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement, recorded in Leviticus 16. The mention of the precipice would have evoked later rabbinic traditions that probably reinforced that connection for some of Mark’s readers. [Wenham, 233-235; Sacks, 247; Harrison, 173]

And even as the story brought such connections to mind, I think it would have highlighted a contrast between two models of scapegoating: one pagan, and the other Christian.

Pagan Scapegoating

First, let’s consider the concept of pagan scapegoating.

And to understand this we’ll get some help from French thinker René Girard.

Girard explained that societies and groups of people in general – but especially in times of crisis – seek social cohesion through scapegoating. This tendency addresses two social problems. 

One is that people tend towards being in conflict with one another – a Hobbesian war of all against all. Everyone is competing with everyone else. These conflicts break down relationships. But then second, such conflicts can also lead to personal shame over our own behaviors, or the ways others have treated us. [Cocks]

Girard points out that for centuries – for millennia – groups, communities, and societies have addressed these problems by identifying, agreeing on, and persecuting, a scapegoat. The scapegoat, in this setting, is an individual or a group whom they identify as the real problem. The community not only projects the sources of their problems onto the scapegoat, but they also project their own shame onto the scapegoat – seeing the scapegoat as the embodiment of shame, and guilt … and in the process they absolve themselves and one another of shame and guilt. Then they attack the scapegoat. The “War of all against all” becomes a “war of all against one.” Thus, personal shame is cast off, and social cohesion is restored. [Cocks]

Girard writes: “Ultimately, the persecutors always convince themselves that a small number of people, or even a single individual, despite his relative weakness, is extremely harmful to the whole of society. … There is only one person responsible for everything, one who is absolutely responsible, and he will be responsible for the cure because he is already responsible for the sickness.” [Girard, Violence and the Sacred, 15, 43, quoted in Sacks, 255]

With that, the group can also convince themselves that they are all good. Just as the scapegoat becomes the embodiment of all evil, so the people can see themselves, by contrast, as the embodiment of all good. [Sacks, 256]

And as a result, it seems clear to them that by attacking, or punishing, or persecuting the scapegoat, the people can solve their problems – both individually, and as a community. [Cocks, Girard, The Scapegoat, 3]

And so … when the people in our text see that this man, who had been a problem in their community for so long  – whom they had expended such effort trying to bind and overpower – when they see that this man is “sitting there, clothed and in his right mind” … they are distressed. They are afraid. And when they hear his healing described, they ask Jesus to leave.

It seems hard to understand why they would respond that way to him being made well … unless we realize that maybe they felt that they needed him to be unwell. Maybe, in his brokenness, in how problematic he was, in those very elements, he may have served an essential role for them – a role they were upset to lose. He seems to have been a sort of living scapegoat. Whatever might be going on in the region of the Gerasenes, whatever challenges or conflicts were happening, so long as the man with the unclean spirit was around, they could tell themselves that the real problem wasn’t them … it wasn’t their family member … it wasn’t their neighbor … it was that lunatic with an unclean spirit. They could rest assured that they were free of guilt and shame … because clearly if anyone deserved guilt and shame it was him. They could be spared conflict with one another … because they could be united in their shared animosity towards him.

And one of the things that makes that dynamic so plausible in our text is that it is so common both today and throughout human history.

Throughout history there are accounts of massacres of various minority groups, of witch-hunts both literal and figurative, of genocides, lynchings, trumped-up charges, and wrongful executions. History is littered with stories of such pagan scapegoating: of communities seeking their own vindication, and pursuing their own social unity and cohesion, by focusing their condemnation and judgment on a single individual or people group.

And while the severity can vary, that dynamic is not just something out there, in other cultures or other periods of history. The dynamic, in one form or another, is often alive and well in our own lives too.

Perhaps one of the most obvious places it shows up is in our politics.

From a biblical viewpoint, healthy politics are centered on shared projects for the common good – for the promotion of justice and mercy in society. Conflicts may arise, but they are the result of these central goals – not the foundation of political coalitions.

But in a fallen world, far more often, our political coalitions are built around, and strengthened by a shared scapegoat. Such political communities – whether in real life or online – agree that certain people are not just wrong … and have not just caused some problems … but rather those one or two groups or individuals, are responsible for everything that’s wrong. Almost divine-like power is attributed to those groups. Fighting them becomes the ground motive for political activity. This dynamic becomes so central that without that shared animosity for the same people, there would actually be little holding many political coalitions together.

The scapegoat provides them broad social cohesion and identity. You can agree that you are the good guys, as you unite together against them as the bad guys. And in addition to providing social cohesion, the scapegoat provides peace of conscience. We can know, confidently, what we’re not the problem, because they are the problem. 

And this dynamic is not just present on the left or the right – it dominates our political discourse whether left, right, or center.

But while politics might be the place where we can see this dynamic most obviously … it’s certainly not the only place it shows up. It often shows up much closer to home … among friends and family.

Family systems therapists have described how this happens within many families. A family can focus on one person, and identify them as the “problem person” of the family. It may be a child in a nuclear family, or a particular individual or couple within an extended family. It might start in a range of ways, but soon it develops into a settled family dynamic. One person begins a critique of this individual, and others pile on. Soon, much of the family’s discussion is taken up with the topic of how problematic that person is. When difficulties arise, it becomes natural to look to that individual as the source. As one therapist puts it: “This process of projection, shaming, and blaming serves to divert attention away from the rest of the family’s mental and emotional problems [by] casting the targeted family member into the role of ‘scapegoat’.” [Mandeville]

Friend groups can fall into similar patterns, as can workplace communities. It can happen with a larger group, or relationships between just two or three people.

Sometimes the scapegoat is rejected and expelled from the group. Other times the scapegoat remains a part of the group, with some level of inclusion, but their role as the problematic member, “the difficult one” … the loser … is constantly reinforced. 

My question for you is: Where do you see this kind of pattern in your life? And particularly, where do you see yourself as part of the group that is scapegoating someone else?

Maybe you’ve actively labeled and targeted someone in a group – making them into a scapegoat. Or maybe you haven’t led such actions … but you’ve still piled on, whether enthusiastically or reluctantly … wanting to secure a place of acceptance with the group, even if it meant tearing down someone else.

Often, the scapegoat in such a setting has real flaws. The man in our text obviously had extremely serious problems. He’s not completely innocent … but that doesn’t mean they’re not also unjustly treating him as a scapegoat. And the clue that he’s being treated that way comes in the response of the people when he is healed. They don’t seem very happy … it seems like they prefer him to be unwell … like maybe they depend on him to be seen as a problem, so that they are not.

Where in your life do you see yourself participating in that same kind of dynamic?

Whom in your life – whether in our society, or in your family, or in your friend group, or your workplace, or somewhere else – whom in your life, if suddenly they were healed of a lot of their problems – if suddenly they become much better people … would you find yourself responding by feeling threatened … rather than relieved?

That response may be an indication of this kind of pagan scapegoating. It’s incredibly common. But it is, at root, pagan and unbiblical.

Christian Scapegoating

Because the Bible holds out something different. In contrast to pagan scapegoating, the Bible calls us to Christian scapegoating.

Now … what does that mean?

In English, the term “scapegoat” was coined by William Tyndale in 1530, as he translated the Hebrew Bible into English. In Leviticus 16 in the ceremony for the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the high priest would bring two goats before the Lord at the entrance of the tabernacle. The first goat would be sacrificed in the tabernacle as a sin offering. The second goat Aaron would take, and he would lay his hands on its head, and confess over it the sins of Israel. And then that second goat would be sent away from Israel, into the wilderness. God said, “The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area.” Tyndale called the second goat the “escapegoat.” Over time, the “e” was dropped, and we got our modern word. But since then, in common usage, as Jonathan Sacks notes, the word “scapegoat” “has come to mean something superficially similar [to the biblical concept] but in fact utterly different, indeed opposite in its meaning.” [Sacks, 253] 

The whole point of pagan scapegoating is that we deny our own guilt and shame. We don’t have to take responsibility for our wrongdoing, because we insist that we are all good. We also don’t have to confess to, or forgive one another, because we agree with all our social allies that both we and they are innocent. All the guilt and shame are instead concentrated on another group or individual, who is viewed as the source of our troubles. That’s the pattern of pagan scapegoating.

But biblical, Christian scapegoating is the opposite. Because the first step in Christian scapegoating is that we admit that we are the problem.

That’s what we see in Leviticus 16 – central to the whole rite is that Israel – God’s people – openly confess their sins. They don’t shift the blame to others, but they own the fact that they are the problem.

There’s a story often told about G.K. Chesterton that at one point The Times reached out to various famous authors with the question “What’s wrong with the world today?” And Chesterton wrote back simply: “Dear Sir, I am. Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”

The story has been repeated often, but for years no one could find a citation. [https://www.chesterton.org/wrong-with-world/] But in 2019 Professor Jordan Poss tracked down the source. The real letter wasn’t as pithy as the popularly retold version, but it was just as powerful. In a letter to the Daily News, in the context of discussing problems in the world, Chesterton wrote: “In one sense, and that the eternal sense, the thing is plain. The answer to the question, ‘What is Wrong?’ is or should be, ‘I am wrong.’ Until a man can give that answer his idealism is only a hobby.” [Quoted in Poss]

Chesterton is right. As we see in the biblical scapegoat rite, if we are to address what is wrong, the first step is confessing that we are what’s wrong. We need to be able to stand before God, and before the mirror, and before our friends and family and say – as one songwriter has put it: “It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.”

That’s the first, key step with the biblical scapegoat.

The second key thing was that God himself provides a way to remove our guilt and shame. Symbolically, this was done in Leviticus 16 when the goat was released out into the wilderness, bearing Israel’s sin and shame away with it. But Christians have always maintained that the sacrificial and ritual cleansing system of Leviticus always pointed beyond itself to something else. It pointed to when God himself would come, in the person of Jesus Christ, to remove our guilt and shame forever, by accepting it onto himself, and doing away with it on the cross. In Jesus, God did that voluntarily, so that we might be forgiven, and made clean, and be accepted into his family, without guilt or shame.

And our text points to that dynamic as well: In verses seventeen and eighteen, Jesus voluntarily is sent away, so that the man who had an unclean spirit can be accepted. Jesus voluntarily becomes the scapegoat here. And that pattern points to the even greater way he would do that for all his people on the cross.

And like the man who was healed, when we receive Jesus’s work, as our scapegoat, on the cross, then we need not bear our sin and shame any longer … because Christ has carried it away. We also need not deny our sinfulness or try to project it onto others. We can be honest about our shortcomings and uncleanness. We can name the uncleanness we bear – and we can entrust it to Jesus to carry it away by his grace.

That is the offer of Christ, the voluntary Christian scapegoat.

The final question left for us is how we will respond to that offer.

Two Types of Responses

So, we’ve considered the two types of costs for the Gerasenes here: one financial, the other social. We’ve seen two types of scapegoats: one worldly and pagan, the other biblical and Christian.

Third and finally, our text holds out to us two types of responses. One response prioritizes Jesus. The other response prioritizes stability.

Prioritize Stability

Let’s start with the response that prioritizes stability. And we see this with the Gerasenes. They are confronted here with someone who is sovereign over the unclean spirits in their lives and their community, who can bring healing to the most broken, who can restore those especially twisted by sin. 

And they send him away in verse sixteen. They beg him to leave.

They could have drawn close to him. They could have asked him to remove their demons as well. They could have offered themselves to his service.

But as wonderful as that would have been … it also would have meant letting go of the stability they had in how things were. And in the end, they valued that broken stability over what Jesus could do in their lives.

Despite all the brokenness, in their worldly and pagan patterns they had a measure of social stability and financial stability … and as dark and deeply flawed as it could be … they chose to prioritize that stability over Jesus and the healing he offered them. They literally chose the devils they knew over the God they didn’t.

And that can be quite tempting for us as well.

If you’re a Christian, you might not try to banish Jesus from your life entirely … but you might beg him to stay out of certain portions of your life.

You may know that Christ and his word condemns slander, gossip, and pagan scapegoating. You may know that he calls his children to be peacemakers, and to care for the broken – even for our enemies. But as you look at your family … or your friend groups … or your workplace … or your political allies … you also realize that such efforts at mercy, and peacemaking, and truth-telling might destabilize everything for you. There might be real social costs to you – maybe even financial costs. And you start to wonder if it’s really that important … if trying to love the person being scapegoated is really such a high priority … and you begin to quietly beg Jesus just to leave that region of your life alone … just like the Gerasenes of verse sixteen.

Or, if you’re a non-Christian, you might experience that pull much more broadly in your life. You may be deeply dissatisfied with your life … but it’s a familiar dissatisfaction … familiar hurts … familiar grievances … familiar, if flawed, coping mechanisms … and you prefer that familiarity to the unfamiliar, maybe even scary, pattern of life that Jesus offers you.

That is the choice of the Gerasenes. It’s a choice of stable hopelessness over new hope. It is a choice of familiar brokenness over new healing. It is the choice, ultimately, of eternal death over eternal life.

It’s one way of responding to Jesus. 

Prioritize Jesus

But the second option is the option we see in the man who had had the unclean spirit. It’s the choice to prioritize Jesus over everything – even over our current stability.

We see that clearly in the man who had had the unclean spirit. He’s willing to risk everything for what Jesus has given him. Rather than listen to the world around him, in verse fifteen he sits at Jesus’s feet, listening to him. Rather than going back to his old life, he wants to be with Jesus above all, we’re told in verse eighteen. And as Jesus commissions him for ministry in verse nineteen, we read that despite whatever social costs it might have incurred, the man went out, telling others what Jesus had done for him, and what he could do for them. As a result, verse twenty-one tells us, “Everyone marveled.”

This man embraced a life with less stability, a life with more risk, a life of potential sacrifice.

But he didn’t do it out of any inherent courage or virtue he already had in himself. Rather he was able to do it … he was compelled to do it … because he saw so clearly what Jesus had done for him.

Jesus had healed him. Jesus had cleansed him. Jesus had taken away his guilt and shame. He knew there was nothing the world could offer him that compared with Jesus, and so he is willing to sacrifice worldly and pagan stability for the gift of knowing, and loving, and serving Jesus.

And Jesus has shown you that love too. He has gone to the cross for you – to take away your guilt and shame. He has borne the punishment of a sin offering – dying in your place. He has borne the fate of the ultimate scapegoat – bearing your shame away from you forever. He did all this out of love for you. How could we do anything else but sit at his feet? How could we do anything else but long to be with him? How could we do anything else but go where he sends us in the world, proclaiming what he’s done for us, and offering his healing to others?


That is the call of our text this morning.

It’s a call to see clearly what the Lord has done for us. It’s a call to draw close to Jesus, rather than push him away, or ask him to stay out of certain regions of our lives. It’s a call to sit at his feet and hear his words. And then it’s a call to offer to others the hope of the gospel.

That is what Jesus calls us to this morning. 

In light of all he’s done for us, let us obey that call with joy.


This sermon draws on material from:

Bayer, Hans. Introduction and notes to Mark in The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008.

Cocks, Richard. “Two Kinds of Sacrifice: René Girard’s Analysis of Scapegoating” Voegelin View. April 9, 2020. Accessed April 27, 2023. https://voegelinview.com/two-kinds-of-sacrifice-rene-girards-analysis-of-scapegoating/ 

Edwards, James R. The Gospel According to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002.

Girard, René. The Scapegoat. Translated by Yvonne Freccero. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1986.

Harris, R.K. Leviticus. TOTC. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity, 1980.

Horne, Mark. The Victory According to Mark: An Exposition of the Second Gospel. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003.

Keller, Timothy. Jesus the King. New York, NY: Penguin, 2011.

Leithart, Peter J. The Gospel of Matthew Through New Eyes: Volume One, Jesus as Israel. Monroe, LA: Athanasius Press, 2017.

Leithart, Peter. “Girard v. Genesis.” First Things. March 14, 2014. Accessed April 27, 2023. https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/03/girard-v-genesis 

Leithart, Peter. “Girardian Basics.” Patheos. October 26, 2018. Accessed April 27, 2023. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/leithart/2018/10/girardian-basics/ 

Leithart, Peter. “The Anti-Scapegoat.” Theopolis. August 8, 2022. Accessed April 27, 2023. https://theopolisinstitute.com/leithart_post/the-anti-scapegoat/

Mandeville, Rebecca. “5 Critical Things to Know About Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA).” PACEs Connection. October 25, 2020. Accessed April 27, 2023. https://www.pacesconnection.com/blog/5-critical-things-to-know-about-family-scapegoating-abuse-fsa  

Poss, Jordan M. “What’s Wrong, Chesterton?” February 28, 2019. Accessed April 27, 2023. https://www.jordanmposs.com/blog/2019/2/27/whats-wrong-chesterton 

Sacks, Jonathan. Covenant & Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible. Jerusalem, Israel: Koren, 2015.

The Society of G. K. Chesterton. “What’s Wrong with the World?” April 29, 2012. Accessed April 27, 2023. https://www.chesterton.org/wrong-with-world/ 

Wenham, Gordon J. The Book of Leviticus. NICOT. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979.

Wright, N.T. Mark for Everyone. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.

Note: In my preaching I often cite and draw from a range of sources, which includes material from Christians within my theological tradition, Christians outside my theological tradition (in keeping with our church’s core value of “Reformed Catholicity”), and also (following the Apostle Paul’s example in Acts 17) non-Christians who are well outside of Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy. And so, when I cite an author or a source, that citation should not be understood or construed as me necessarily agreeing with, endorsing, or recommending to others anything else from that author or source, except for what I explicitly say I agree with, endorse, or recommend. When engaging with different materials and thinkers, all Christians must exercise wisdom and discernment to determine what is helpful, appropriate, and edifying for each person, taking into account their current needs, wisdom, and spiritual maturity.

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