Bible Verse: “When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid” Mark 5:15
Scripture Reading: Mark 5:1-20
Mark tells a couple of stories back-to-back about Jesus scaring people. And the irony of both stories is that those involved were afraid of something until Jesus came, then they were afraid of Him.
Yesterday, we looked at the story of Jesus calming the storm. The disciples went from being afraid of drowning to terrified of the man who spoke to the storm…and the storm obeyed.
In today’s passage, we’re back in a boat, crossing to the region of the Gerasenes. What awaits is a man that no one wants and none can get rid of. He’s possessed. He lives in the tombs. Chains can’t hold him. His tormented soul leads him to self-harm, his body crisscrossed with the lacerations from stones around the tombs.
The disciples had seen exorcisms, although perhaps not of this magnitude. It’s the townspeople, the possessed man’s own people, maybe even his own family, who are afraid this time.
Jesus meets the demoniac and confronts the possessing spirits. He commands them to leave, sending them into a nearby herd of pigs, which subsequently went wild and rushed down the cliff into the sea and drowned—perhaps intended to demonstrate to the reader the chaos that was actually taking place inside the possessed man. Unmistakable good news for the man who had been tormented and ostracized.
Instead of celebrating, the townspeople were afraid. The man that couldn’t be tamed was now meek and mild, sitting at the feet of the man who had done the impossible. Not the reaction we would expect. Someone comes in and restores order to the chaotic mind, body, and soul, and they ask him to leave. To be fair, that kind of power can be intimidating. How do you respond to that authority? It’s easy to shake our heads at their misunderstanding and poor choice, pitying those who missed Jesus in their midst.
The challenge for us is to see the power of Jesus and to invite it into every place in our lives. To let His authority command the chaos in our souls to depart. It is easier said than done. We say we want the order and calm of Jesus to be our peace, but the truth is that sometimes it takes upheaval to get there. Are you willing to let Jesus do that?
Reflection: In the story of the demoniac, Jesus doesn’t allow the restored man to come with Him. He tells him to stay behind and witness to what Jesus has done. To whom do you tell your story? Is it only to others with a similar story, or do you introduce Jesus to those who do not know Him?
Prayer: Jesus, thank You that You can restore even the most broken parts of our lives. It may not happen when and how I think or want, but the power and authority is Yours. Thank You for the good news that You make things new.
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