Scripture: Mark 5:1-20
Key verses: (18-20) As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 But Jesus refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.
Reflection: When reading this passage, I get stuck on the pigs. That is where the action seems to be as the demons enter the pigs and off they go, over the side of the cliff. I know it is easier to make a joke out of the story then to face the pain of the man possessed.
Jesus calls this man out, exposes him as being limited, chained and tormented. In a world where we like to hide our demons, being called out might be worse than being possessed. It wasn’t like the townspeople didn’t know his struggles but this was Jesus. He was probably used to being called out with ridicule and hatred around town. We live in fear of having our masks ripped off as most of our lives are built around keeping the defenses intact. So when Jesus does it — it makes us all uncomfortable. We can deal with the chains and tombs, but exposure and love is hard. Jesus reaches out to him, and us, with a liberating love.
When Christ enters into the struggle with this man, he identifies with him in his pain. A cure is not easy. (Here is where the pigs come in!) Jesus exposes the demons and speaks the liberating word. Into the pigs they go! This man is free — free of his demons, free of the ridicule, free of the chains, maybe even free of himself.
Prayer: God, may your liberating love free us from our demons and guide us to freedom. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].