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?
My nephew is battling a life-long heart-health issue that almost took his life back in May of 2020. While that battle was won, the war is not yet done. I know that God is on the throne, and I seek to keep my sister uplifted in her journey to care for her son.
2 weeks ago today, I was as hopeless as I have been in a very long time. My medical struggle began in 2005 and since then the road has been long and arduous. I have died nearly 3 times, had over 20 surgeries, been a coma for 10 days, and no one knew for certain if I would walk, talk or remember anything, AND I DID. It has not been easy and the struggles today are as real and hard as they were 15 years ago. Sometimes it seems unrelenting and hopeless, sometimes I wonder like I did 2 weeks ago if I would be able to summon hope and strength back again. I have and I have no idea what the road looks like, but I am grateful it is me and not one of my kids and that keeps me strong every day. I often say GOD CAN YOU HEAR ME, GOD DO YOU CARE?
On a vulnerable note, I’m going through a time where I’m struggling to hold on to God’s plan for my personal life, with a particular emphasis on God’s plan for who I am to date/marry. God has been speaking to me lately about how He has good plans for me (Jer. 29:11). He also is reminding me I don’t have to control any part of it because He is in charge and able to assist me along the way (psalm 32:8). I am so encouraged and hold onto hope of what God can do in the midst of my waiting and this scripture and Devo encourage me that even when a situation feels hopeless, it isn’t in Christ.
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