Mark 5: 1-20 is another type of miracle Jesus did where he directly confronts Satan and his demons. Jesus and disciples cross the Sea of Galilee, land and are met by a demon possessed man. For many people today, the explanation is mental illness. The man himself cries out acknowledging Jesus as “Son of the Most High God” and begging not to be tortured when Jesus orders the demons to leave. The man gives his name as “Legion, for we are many.” Jesus sends the demons into a large herd of pigs that runs into the sea. The town people learn that their source of income is gone. They are “afraid” and ask Jesus to leave. Wow, how do we understand this in our day of scientific enlightenment and in a day when dietary limitations are not so strict? Exorcisms do not hit the evening new
Change is scary. The possessed, sick man is afraid what change might mean. The town’s people are afraid about their economic future. I suspect the disciples had wobbly knees also. Confrontations with real evil are very scary and not undertaken lightly. It is possible to have long discussions and arguments about how to deal with evil. Feelings run strong on the subject.
I think more importantly than the “how” or “if” is that this story teaches us that Jesus at no point in this encounter is out of control. Whatever evil is plaguing you or your loved one, God is stronger!!! That means Satan cannot possess a person controlled by the Spirit of God but Satan can harass the person. Demonic harassment is not demon possession.
The man once delivered is a changed person and seeks to stay close to Jesus. Interestingly, Jesus sends him to tell his people what has happened. In telling our story, we affirm our reality. Jesus has changed us! And Jesus does not seem to be afraid of the future for this man and is willing to use this new person.
I do not know what bothers you today. Sometimes we think our own sinful self is the bad guy but in fact we are not following God’s way and so we get in trouble. Getting an STD because we are fooling around or getting pregnant is not necessarily Satan attacking us or God punishing us. The laws of science explain that one. Likewise we always have access to God through prayer, and the Holy Spirit interprets for us so we need not have a prayer formula. “Help” is a good prayer. Change is scary but God always leads us to a better place even if we don’t see it at the time. Today may we pray for those places in our world where evil is hurting people and driving them to desperation and despair. Whatever we call it, it is wrong and God is stronger. Blessings.