“They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet Him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of Him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
A large herd of pigs were feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 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. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with Him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.” (Mark 5:1-10, NIV)
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If I’m honest, I had tears in my eyes when I was reading this scripture. Reading about this man spending “Night and day among the tombs in the hills where he would cry out and cut himself with stones”; I couldn’t help but feel deep compassion for this man. Maybe I was in tears because I have felt incredibly broken at times.
Maybe I was moved because I, too, have cried out to God for relief from deep pain and brokenness.
Although I haven’t cut myself with stones, I understand that place of pain where the anguish leaves one feeling desperately empty. He must have felt incredibly alone, terrified, broken, empty, and maybe even angry.
Have you ever been to that place? That place of feeling utterly helpless and hopeless? That place of longing for someone or something to save you?
This demon-possessed man was in that place. For a long time, he had not worn clothes, nor lived in a house. He was chained by his hands and feet, but was unable to remain so as he had continually broken free. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Therefore, he had been driven by the demons to live among the tombs. He lived completely alone in the darkest of places crying out and cutting himself with stones.
When Jesus stepped ashore, He was met by the demon-possessed man. Amazingly, the demons recognized Jesus immediately and the authority He had over them. They knew His power and what He could do to them. They cried out and fell at His feet and begged Him not to torture them before the appointed time. Not only do they know that they are powerless in His presence, but they know their ultimate fate.
We can see that Jesus has the ultimate authority to call out the darkness and breathe life into broken souls.
After Jesus performed this miracle, the man was dressed and in his right mind sitting at the feet of Jesus. In that time, sitting at someone’s feet showed your desire to be that person’s disciple and to learn from them.
This man knew the power of Jesus. This man knew who had saved him.
This man had been in an utterly powerless state within himself, and he experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
This man believed.
We then read about the healed man begging Jesus to go along with him. I don’t blame him for asking.
Even though he had just witnessed and experienced a miraculous event in his very own life, I can’t help but wonder if he felt a little afraid that the possession might happen to him again?
Yet Jesus, in His complete knowledge of all things, tells the man to “Return home and tell how much God has done for you and how He has had mercy on you.”
Jesus knows our hearts and thoughts. He knows that this man will be forever changed and by going home and telling others what Jesus had done; many more would come to follow Jesus and believe in Him.
Miracles occur in the Bible for those who could never do for themselves what only Jesus can do. None of us will ever feel deserving of His miracles. But experiencing the mercy of Jesus is life changing.
Sin is destructive. It leads to evil being in control of our thoughts, our behaviors, our actions, and ultimately our whole lives.
Jesus is reconstructive. His actions show the value, love, and care He places in each human life. He desires to restore, redeem, and make new all that was once broken.
Miracles bring glory to God. That is their purpose.
While the account of this demon-possessed man begins with incredible pain and anguish, seeing the ways in which Jesus shows His power, authority, compassion, and love reminds us that He alone can be trusted, followed, and praised. Jesus is the answer to our brokenness, our pain, our shortcomings, our emptiness, and everything in between.
Jesus IS the miracle.
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[guest writer: Staci Landis, @StaciLandis]