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Jesus Restores a Man Made in God's Image

And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him.

Mark 5:6
Jesus Restores a Man Made in God's Image Book Cover

chaos among the tombs

Having just demonstrated his power to calm destructive powers of nature, Jesus approached the region of the Gerasenes. Though scholars debate the exact location, one thing seems certain—he was stepping into Gentile territory. This time Jesus encountered an inward form of destruction—a man tormented by unclean spirits.

Matthew and Luke record the same story, but Mark gives the longest account and the most vivid details. This depiction, more than any other section of Scripture, makes it clear that the demonic world seeks to “distort and destroy the image of God in man.”

This man spent his days wandering among tombs and slashing his arms with rocks. Not knowing what else to do, people frequently bound him with shackles and chains, but to no avail. With unnatural strength, he broke free every time.

The best way to describe this wretched soul is as one who was like “the living dead, left with no life” dwelling among corpses.

Yet, interestingly, when he saw Jesus he ran and fell before him. Recognizing a formidable and divine authority, the demonic voices spoke: “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me” (Mark 5:7). The demons who had kept the man in fear and torment now feared divine punishment themselves.

chaos among the tombs

Knowing their time was up and wanting control over where they went next, the demons begged permission to go into a nearby herd of pigs. The results proved disastrous. Whether driven by the demons or simply overcome by terror, nearly two thousand pigs raced down the hill and drowned in the sea.

Why would Jesus allow such a staggering loss of animal life and the resultant economic loss?

The text doesn’t address this directly, but two things are apparent. First, the value of a person made in God’s image far exceeds the value of animal life. Two thousand pigs count as nothing compared to the worth of one man.

Second, this action proved Jesus’s power and authority over the spirit world in a tangible way. No onlookers could reasonably doubt that they were in the presence of one who was divinely omnipotent.

the restoration of man

Having seen what happened, the herdsmen hurried to inform those in the city and the surrounding country of what had taken place. People flocked to see what happened and found visible proof—the man sitting fully clothed and in his right mind. The onlookers were terrified and begged Jesus to leave their region. Sadly, they were more comfortable welcoming chaos from the demonic realms than the peace Jesus offered.

Sometimes we grow too comfortable with our own destructive patterns because it’s what we’ve grown used to. Whether it’s a harmful addiction, a mental illness, or crippling fatigue, we believe the lie that it won’t get better. So, why bother trying? Before we know it, we’ve gone from discouragement to despair.

In these moments, it’s helpful to observe the power of God at work all around us. When Jesus healed the demoniac, he left him with some instructions: “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (5:19).

We can depend on two things even in our moments of torment: God’s power and his mercy. We serve a God who specializes in hopeless situations and longs to demonstrate his love toward us. Even when others have abandoned us to the tombs of our circumstances, God’s desire is our restoration. He wants the whole of us, and he wants us whole.

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Daily Question

In what ways does knowing you are made in the image of God change how you view yourself?

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Comments (6)

Knowing that I am made in the image of God had a tremendous impact on my life even when I first came to know Jesus and to accept His sacrifice on the cross. Although there were aspects of my life about which I was happy, this feeling could not compare with knowing the One Who made me as I am, with my particular talents and even my personality. I truly came to know myself once I fully realized that I was known by the Creator of the universe.

I haven’t had a very good self-image most of my life. Knowing that I am in the image of God (which is holy and pure and perfect) and that He wants to restore me to the whole He intended me to be is freeing from the devil’s attempts to have me think less of myself than God intends. [I still struggle with this and the feelings of being unworthy. But God is working on it with me.]

I begin as worthy and beautiful and loved before I take my first breath. I need to sew that thought into the deepest parts of my self. Then from that comes a gratitude that makes me want to try to be my best to act it out. It is kind of like a self full-filling prophecy.

During this time of isolation, I’ve been sorting through years and years of pictures and throwing out much more than I am keeping. I had gotten to my goal weight at Weight Watchers and kept it off for maybe ten years. "Boy did I look good in those pictures. and look at me now." All those pictures stir up memories of self. I realize that I was looking at my image and not God’s image. I’ve had to ask God to forgive me for taking my eyes off Him and putting it on self.

Makes me know that I was made with purpose and reassured me there is hope when I start to lose that hope sometimes……

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