Freedom from the shackles of sin is what Jesus offers us. Are we willing to accept Him? Or do we have our own plans?
#Reflectonthis #DailyReflection https://youtu.be/Vh-LohbNHhM
Scripture Reading: Mark 5:1-20
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him anymore, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; and the unclean spirits begged him, “Send us into the swine; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and were drowned in the sea. The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. 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.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed. – The Gospel of the Lord
This is a very interesting story which throws up a lot of questions, so let’s answer a couple of them. Do you wonder why Jesus allowed the evil spirits to enter the pigs instead of just casting them out? Now Jesus was in Gerasa, one of the cities of the Decapolis on the other side of the sea. What Jesus did was symbolic of his own mission where, in order to free mankind from the shackles and torment of sin, he would become the sacrificial Lamb of God (John 1:29). Therefore he sent the spirits into a herd of pigs who were sacrificed to set the man free from his slavery to evil and to give him new life. His purpose of coming into this Gentile town was to demonstrate that his gift of salvation is open to all people and not just reserved for the Jews.
And why were the locals so hostile toward Jesus after this incident? The man had been torturing himself and was a source of distress for everyone around since years. Seeing him healed completely should have been a cause of joy and relief. But Scripture says they were afraid! (Mark 5:15) Come to think of it, when would fear occur? To answer this, let’s look at two places in Scripture, though there are more. First, in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were afraid to face God after they sinned and hid themselves (See Genesis 3:8-10). Second, in the story of the Epiphany when Herod heard from the wise men about the birth of the king of the Jews, he was frightened - insecure about the possible loss of his power (See Matthew 2:3). When the darkness of sin is upon us, fear enters our hearts and minds and we are afraid to face the light.
The people sensed the presence of God amidst them. Accepting him as Lord would mean changing their way of life which wasn’t something they were particularly inclined to do. It was easier to choose the convenient option and continue walking through the wide gate, than changing course and opting for the difficult path through the narrow gate (See Matthew 7:13-14). Hence they urged Jesus to leave them alone which he did. However, as he was leaving, he commissioned the healed man to be his representative and spread the good news around.
How open are we to break free from sin and accept Jesus’ gift of salvation? And how willing are we to make tough changes in our lives to accommodate him? Let’s think about it - God bless you!