They came to the other side of the sea, into the region of the Gerasenes. When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him. He lived among the tombs; and no one was able to bind him anymore, not even with a chain, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces; and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and cutting himself with stones.
Having just calmed a great storm on the seas, Jesus and His disciples arrived back on land across from the city of Galilee—to the region of the Gerasenes. This would have been predominately gentile territory. Immediately after setting foot on land, Jesus met a man plagued by demons. The scene and man described seems almost inhumane. He lived in the tombs, isolated from other people. There wasn’t a person or a chain that could keep him bound. Every attempt at shackling him was useless. Day and night, he was heard screaming in the tombs and cutting himself with rocks.
What a frightening scene. Pure chaos. If we came upon such a person, we would be terrified. We would tell people to stay away from him. We would label him a lunatic and assume there was no cure for his brand of brokenness.
The presence of evil in our world causes chaos and disruption. Where the Lord created this world with order, beauty, and wholeness, evil has fractured it with sin. While this story in Mark 5 is an extreme example of that evil, we experience it in more “normal ways” on a daily basis. Many of us are shackled to endless cycles of habitual sin. Others are chained to the traumas of their past. Still, many are latching onto the lies that Satan loves to throw our way. Yet, the power of Jesus is far greater than any power of evil in this world. Jesus didn’t keep a distance from the demon-possessed man here, and he doesn’t keep a distance from any brokenness that plagues us.
- How does Mark’s description of the demon-possessed man make you feel? What does it remind you about our world?
- What is your response to evil and brokenness? How do you try to keep certain people at a distance?
- Take some time to examine your own heart in response to evil and brokenness. Ask the Lord to give you a deeper empathy for those who are bound to very real and powerful kinds of evil.