Take a minute to put yourself in the demoniac’s place. Day and night, you try to escape the evil, but it comes from within you. Loneliness haunts you as family and friends keep their distance. Simple pleasures of life—hugs, kisses, holding hands, snuggling with loved ones—sound like ecstasy compared to the isolation of tombs. Maggots and flies are your only companions. You might want to dream of better days, but the tormenting took its toll and left you feeling defeated. You may have memories of better bygone days, but this constant agony is now your lot in life. You look at each day with one outlook: hopelessness.
Jesus Goes to the Hopeless
Jesus: Bringer of Hope
Then Jesus walks on the scene. There is no hopeless situation when Jesus enters into it. In this story Mark continues to ratchet up the demonstration of Jesus’ power. Earlier Jesus exorcised a demon-possessed man, but now Jesus confronts the demon possession par excellence. Not one demon, not two, but thousands. The name Legion, borrowed from a military term, not only communicates the quantity of demons inside the man but it conveys that Jesus came into a battle. Thousands of demons versus one Messiah, and the Messiah needed only the breath of His mouth to win the fight.
Prior to Jesus coming to the region of Gerasene, this man’s best day came when the shackles worked and restrained him from hurting himself. Jesus, instead, set the captive free. Freedom in Christ does more than remove chains; it explodes a person’s life with hope. Once tormented, now in his right mind. Once isolated, now restored. Once unclean living in the tombs, now made clean. Once lost, now found. Once a threat, now an evangelist. Once hopeless, now a bringer of hope.
While most of us will never suffer possession by thousands of demons, all of us experience bondage, slavery, loneliness, and hopelessness at some point in our lives. This story should remind us that Christ can free us from all of our chains. Scripture tells us suffering follows the believer, so we must not declare that Christ will always rescue you from your chains. But, the demonstration of Christ’s power in this encounter as well as throughout the rest of the book of Mark shows us that Christ can free us. As believers, we must remember and declare, there is no hopeless situation when Jesus enters into it.
Response to Power
Yesterday we saw a negative response to power from the disciples—fear. Today, the demoniac epitomizes a positive response to Jesus’ power—drawing near and telling others. We do well to follow after the demoniac now set free. Jesus’ power is good news for those who face suffering, slavery, and trouble of any kind. His power means that we not only have hope for His eventual triumph over evil in the end, but we have hope for Him to triumph over our troubles today.
Are you facing a situation that seems hopeless? Is someone you love going through a trying time? How can this story encourage you and your loved ones that the gospel means we always have hope?
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