Jesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man
5 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 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. 6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 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!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” 9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 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. 14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 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. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. 18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 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.” 20 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.
Micah D. Kiel writes about this text on workingpreacher.com ” The point for Mark, obviously, is not to have told a story that represents accurately a community and its pigs. In his story about the Kingdom of God, it becomes increasingly clear that humanity — its society and institutions — impedes the in-breaking of God’s kingdom more than it expedites. The way the Kingdom of God breaks into the world in Mark’s story wrests control from humanity. Their way of “dealing” with the demoniac — ostracism and segregation — is not tenable in God’s Kingdom.“
It reminds me of a time when I was young in church and there was a noise coming from the back of the church during a Sunday Service I attended. I was told later that a man had come into the church and was creating somewhat of a disturbance so was asked to leave. I know I do not know all of the circumstances of what went on but the person who told me about the event wondered why the people that dealt with the man had not taken him somewhere in the church to talk to him.
It’s comfortable to talk to people who are friends or pleasant and polite but Jesus was not called to speak only to those who were nice to him. He was called to speak to all people and we are called to do the same.
Heavenly Father, forgive us for those times when we have rejected another by anything that we see in them, heard from them, discerned from them that causes us to feel they are different from us. Help us to see with eyes of love, to listen with ears that are attentive, and a mind that is open, not closed. Help us to love our neighbours as ourselves, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.