Mark 5:1-5 “They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.[a] 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 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. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills, he would cry out and cut himself with stones.” This same story in Luke says that he had not worn clothes or lived in a house in a long time.
The Bible was written thousands of years ago but the problems it describes are just as real today as they were then. The human condition has not changed, and the need for God’s miraculous help is just as urgent today as it was back then. This passage from Mark describes a hopeless man seemingly beyond help.
People feared for their safety when he was around. Everyone, even his family, had given up on him. No one understood his pain and suffering. Who wouldn’t be afraid of a naked homeless man like this? Even so, what we see is a man who is not trying to hurt other people. As he cried out and cut himself with stones, he was hurting himself all alone in the cemetery.
People who cut themselves on purpose are trying to create physical pain greater than the emotional pain they feel inside. When they cut themselves, the pain they feel takes their mind off their inner demons and life becomes more manageable for a short time until they have to do it again. Many people don’t go as far as cutting themselves, but they try to manage their inner pain with alcohol, drugs, or other destructive lifestyles. Our world is full of people like the man named Legion, but the good news is that God is still working miracles today like He did back then.
The man named Legion was out of control until he met Jesus. We see the outcome in Luke 8:35 that says “and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.”
What really happened in this encounter with Jesus? I believe that Jesus was the only one who could look in this man’s heart to understand the true source of his pain. Things had happened in this man’s life that twisted him, and Jesus could handle it. The man named Legion surrendered the raw truth about his pain. Jesus was able to be present with him in his suffering and heal him with God’s unconditional love and transforming power.
Many people today feel alone with severe inner pain that twists them and causes them to do such crazy things that the world has given up on them. Many people today need a miraculous encounter with Jesus where he can be present with them in their pain, feel understood in their raw truth, and be healed by His unconditional love and transforming power. With the Lord, it’s never too late for anyone.
Rev. Susan Smith is the Associate Pastor of Exodus Missionary Outreach Church www.exodusmissionaryoutreachchurch.org and can be reached at 828-962-8196, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 3311, Hickory, NC 28603.
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