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October 18, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“They came to the other side of the sea, to the region of the Gerasenes. As soon as He got out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met Him. He lived in the tombs. No one was able to restrain him anymore—even with chains—because he often had been bound with shackles and chains, but had snapped off the chains and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. And always, night and day, he was crying out among the tombs and in the mountains and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before Him. And he cried out with a loud voice, ‘What do You have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You before God, don’t torment me!’ For He had told him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’ ‘What is your name?’ He asked him. ‘My name is Legion,’ he answered Him, ‘because we are many.’ And he kept begging Him not to send them out of the region. Now a large herd of pigs was there, feeding on the hillside. The demons begged him, ‘Send us to the pigs, so we may enter them.’ And He gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs, and the herd of about 2,000 rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned there.”—Mark 5:1-13 (HCSB)
As a child, I was always frightened by these sorts of stories in the Bible. To be honest, I still experience a degree of discomfort when reading these passages even now. Yes, the concept of spiritual warfare is frightening because it’s real; however, we have no reason to fear because Jesus Christ has dominion over all the dark forces in the world. The demons begged Jesus and submitted to His command when not even iron chains could keep them from tormenting this man. Yet, this is not the only point of the story.
This story, like every other story in the Bible, points to the power of Jesus, the grace of God, and our redemption as a result of His power and grace. All of us can relate to this man’s story in today’s Scripture. Though this man couldn’t be bound with shackles or chains, he was still bound spiritually. We don’t know why this man was being tormented this way; however, we can relate to his suffering when we remain bound by our sin. Much like how this man lived in isolation from society and amongst the dead, our sin can also isolate us from our heavenly Father and from loved ones in our lives.
Romans 6:23 (HCSB) explains how the “wages of sin is death,” but the verse doesn’t end there. It goes on to proclaim that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This verse is found at the end of a passage where Paul explains how we were once enslaved to sin but now have been set free because of our faith in Christ!
This man, though tormented by demons, had enough faith in the power and grace of Jesus to meet him in the midst of his depravity, struggle, and shame. The demons couldn’t even restrain him from running to Christ. In fact, they acknowledged the power of Jesus and called him “Son of the Most High God.” There is power in the name of Jesus, for at the sound of His name and command the demons must flee.
As I ask Jesus to show me the message He wants me to share through this story, I can’t help but to think of the song “Break Every Chain” by Jesus Culture. Christ is the only one with the power to break every one of our chains. He conquered death so that through Him we may partake in His victory! He’s ready for us to come running to Him, and He’ll meet us wherever we are with His grace and redemption in hand.
DIG: Why does God want us to read these stories as we study His Word?
DISCOVER: How does this man’s story relate to your own?
DO: Read Romans 6 in its entirety sometime today to see the context of the popular verse used in today’s devotional (it’s only 23 verses). How does it relate to the story?