A Man From The Tombs: Mark 5:1-10


They came to the other side of the sea, to the territory of the Gerasenes. When he got out of the boat, at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him. The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain. In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before him, crying out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!” (He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”) He asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.” And he pleaded earnestly with him not to drive them away from that territory.

Because of my tendency to be long-winded (or in this case, long-versed.)  I had to break this section of Sacred Scripture  into two parts. But, I wondered if I did that, if I could keep the continuity of the whole story. Where would be a good stopping point? Well, since the story has twenty verses, I looked right in the middle and thought, “Yeah, we could stop there and continue on with verses 11-20  next week.”

As I concentrated on the first half of the story, asking God for direction  and understanding of what was being taught here; He helped me see something I’d never seen in this story before.

Hopefully, we are all familiar with the story here, it appears in St. Luke’s gospel account as well (8: 26-39). It is indeed another story of Jesus’ authority, and not just over a demon possessed person; but a person who is possessed by many demons, for his name is Legion. So that we may have an idea of what this means, legion was a military term used by the Roman Empire, that equaled six-thousand (6,000) soldiers. As we see, Jesus displays not only His superiority by casting out a single  demon, but by casting out legions  of them!

As amazing  as all that is, that wasn’t what God led me to expound on. No, what I was shown was something a little bit different. A man from the tombs; a simple enough statement. But, think on it a moment. What kind of man would you meet in the tombs? The only kind of man I should think of was….. a dead man !

Yes, that was it. A dead man . I saw it clearly. This man was in a sense dead, was he not? He was dwelling in the tombs for some while, separated from his family and friends . He had no occupation, no communal responsibilities – he was as good as dead .

As I pondered this, for most of a day, two more thoughts came to mind:

  1. this is us  before receiving the Gospel message
  2. this is a parable of Jesus’ own life

OK, Tim. You’ve just lost it!  I can see how this could be us before receiving the Gospel but, come on! This man was indwelled by many demons! You speak sacrilege !”

Let me explain.

In the sense that Jesus (God the Son) gave up His heavenly glory to take on the form of a servant (taking on the form of a man, Ph. 2:7) it confined Him. In a similar way, the unclean spirits confined the man from the tombs. Jesus also cried out over His mission  in the garden of Gethsemane (Lk. 22:39-44). The man from the tombs, was always crying out; could it have been over his situation ?

“So? What’s your point, Tim? What does this have to do with living out the gospel?”

I’m so glad you asked!

If we can’t see Jesus  in the circumstances of Sacred Scripture, then how on earth, can we see Him in our own circumstances ?

This week, why not dare to see Christ  in our everyday circumstances; recognizing Him, for who He is, prostrating ourselves and allowing Him to change those circumstances we’re facing?

And next week, we will conclude this section of Sacred Scripture, looking at A Man Reborn.

May God bring you every blessing through Christ this week!

Amen.

Top Seven Acts of Christian Bashing in America of 2007


This is a list from the Christian News Wire; read the whole article here.

 

7.) Golden Compass, the Movie–Phillip Pullman’s atheistic answer to C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series because destroying the church and killing God in the mind of every child is the best revenge. Why be damned alone when you can take a few million souls with you and get rich on the proceeds.

 

6.) John Edwards’s Campaign Bloggers who called Christian supporters of President Bush his “wing nut Christofascist base.” One asked, ‘What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit,’ to which she replied, ‘You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.’ They posed the thoughtful question of religious conservatives, “What don’t you lousy %#*@!+# understand about keeping your noses out of our britches, our beds and our families?”

 

 5.) CNN’s “God’s Warriors” and “Friends of God”–Two biased, anti-Christian documentaries were produced and aired. One by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, Alexandra, “Friends of God” on HBO and the other by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, “God’s Warriors.” At least they tried to act as if they wanted to be fair. Of course, they failed. Evangelicals are almost 100 million strong and very diverse but are reduced to clichéd caricatures or are portrayed as the moral equivalents of Islamic terrorists.  

 

4.) Attack on Jerry Falwell–CNN reached a new low when Anderson Cooper invited Christopher Hitchens, editor of Vanity Fair Magazine, on his show the day of Jerry Falwell’s death to make critical remarks about Falwell. Hitchens made the most reprehensible and offensive remarks one can imagine against a Christian minister, Jerry Falwell, even on the day of his death. Christopher Hitchens called Falwell “a little toad … a horrible little person…an evil old man…a conscious charlatan and bully and fraud…an actual danger to democracy, to culture, to civilization.”  

 

3.) Violence on San Francisco Church–In September, Christians in San Francisco spoke out against a blasphemous anti-Christian advertisement for the Folsom Street Fair, a perverted “fair” for the sadomasochistic, leather fetish community. The ad mimics the classic Christian painting of Christ at the Last Supper. In the ad, Christ and the 12 Disciples are portrayed as sexual deviants provocatively posed before a table of sex toys.

 

2.) Federal Hate Crimes Bill–The 2007 Federal Hate Crimes Bill which threatens religious liberties and lays the groundwork for “thought crime,” which has no place in American law and violates the concept of equal protection under the law. As has occurred in other nations, these laws pave the way for Christians to be silenced and even arrested because they believe that homosexual acts are sinful. It is totalitarian regimes which punish thoughts, not free societies. Thomas Jefferson declares that “the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions.”

 

1.) Colorado Church Murders–“You Christians brought this on yourselves I’m coming for EVERYONE soon and I WILL be armed to the @#%$ teeth and I WILL shoot to kill. … God, I can’t wait till I can kill you people. Feel no remorse, no sense of shame, I don’t care if I live or die. …” Posted by a troubled young man, Matthew Murray, ten hours after killing two at the Arvada missionary base and two hours before killing two at a Colorado Springs church. Churches used to be considered sanctuaries, but now they are targets for the hateful and the deranged. The CADC calls on every church to be prepared to use deadly force, if necessary, to protect their congregations.