Scripture: Mark 5:1-43
Observation: After leaving his boat, Jesus was immediately greeted by a man who was so possessed by evil spirits that he couldn’t be restrained, even with shackles and chains. The evil spirits in the man (who called himself Legion) knew they were no match for Jesus and begged him to let them enter a nearby herd of pigs. Jesus granted their plea, and these spirits entered 2,000+ pigs that immediately fell off a steep cliff onto the waters below. Jesus dismissed the man, encouraging him to go and tell others what he had witnessed. In the last half of the chapter, Jesus performs two more healing miracles.
Application: A short list of things that freak me out:
- Walking alone by myself at night
- The “Candyman” story I heard in elementary school (I never saw this movie, but hearing about it from someone else had me freaked out enough)
- The flying monkeys in “The Wizard of Oz” (So. Creepy.)
- Things in costume (including, but not limited to, Santa, the Easter Bunny, and every college mascot in the history of the world)
- This story in Mark 5
So, here’s the setting: Jesus gets off the boat and is immediately met by a man who was demon-possessed. In everyday language, we’d call him a “madman.” Listen to how Mark describes him in verses 3 & 4:
“This man lived among the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles – as he often was – he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him.”
Now that is crazy! No one was strong enough to subdue him – except for Jesus himself. As soon as the man saw Jesus, he ran to him, hopeful that Jesus could cast out these demons. As the two talk back and forth, we start to see that the demons are no match for Jesus. The evil spirits even recognize this, begging Jesus not to send them to “some distant place” but rather into a herd of nearby pigs.
Why did Jesus grant their wish and allow 2,000 pigs to die in the process?
We don’t know. Some say that Jesus didn’t command the spirits into the pigs; he only gave them permission. Others say that whoever raised the pigs may have been Jewish, which was forbidden against Jewish law. Others say that Jesus can use creation in whatever way he feels is best. However, one thing is clear: Jesus was stronger than every demon.
He was stronger than every demon who had possessed that man, and he’s stronger than every demon that possesses us. Jesus has all authority and all power. He can literally break chains. He can defeat every evil thought that plagues us. He is bigger.
I love the way this story ends in verse 19:
“But Jesus said, ‘No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.’”
Today, tell someone everything the Lord has done for you. Tell them how merciful he has been. Tell them how he is more powerful than any demon that tries to take us down. Tell them that he alone is Lord.
Prayer: God, I am in awe of your amazing power. I pray today that I can rely on your strength to break every chain, to overcome every evil spirit and thought that plagues me. Thank you for your strength and mercy. Amen.
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