Jesus Is Coming
“They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.”
Mark chapter 5:1-6 (NIV)
One dark night, after having been terrified and nearly drowned in a storm that Jesus eventually calmed, the disciples found themselves landing their fishing boat amid spine-chilling screams and howls on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was the kind of night a person never forgets, and Jesus was on a mission. Just as they left the boat, a demon-possessed man came towards them.
This man’s demons were so powerful that Mark describes them in terms of a Roman legion of 6,000 warriors. They made the man torture himself. They caused him to be ostracized and chained. The demons caused him unrelenting anguish and misery; but they did not have the power to destroy him. With a word, Jesus made them leave the man and sent them into a herd of pigs on the hillside. The evil spirits immediately destroyed the pigs, but at no time were they able to destroy the man.
How long had he lived in the graveyard under the unforgiving power of this legion of demons? We aren’t told. But we do know this: Jesus was coming. In Mark’s story, the only reason at all that Jesus crossed the stormy Sea of Galilee that evening was to deliver that poor man from his bondage. Jesus came to save him, regardless of the depth of the pit the man was in, regardless of the man’s inability to ask Jesus to save him.
What are your demons? What has you in self-destructive bondage? Know this: whatever your devils may be as you enter this new year, they do not have the power to finally destroy you. Jesus is coming. He’s coming for you, to set you free. Not even death can stop him—his or yours. He conquered death itself. He can free you from anything.
It has been said that most people have a hard time relating to the story of this Garasene demoniac, but that drug addicts relate to it easily. That makes sense. Anyone who takes sin seriously, like Jesus does, relates easily to this story. We’re all like that demoniac, howling away in the dark from the tombs. Even when our sinfulness darkens our hearts, somewhere deep inside we still know our need, and we know Jesus is the one who has come to set us free.
Father, thank you for Jesus who delivers us from all our fears and anxieties, and from the sinfulness that seeks to enslave us.
Study by Joseph Tkach