Living Among the Dead

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Mark 5:1-20

It was an eventful day in the life of Christ, when He taught some of His most powerful teachings, including the parables of sower and seed and the lesson on mustard seed faith. Jesus was approached by a a physically and spiritually grotesque man—a man banished to live in a cemetery among the dead. The people of the town had no way to help his situation, so He was forced to live alone outside of society.

This man told Jesus that he was consumed by over one thousand demons living inside him and giving him unnatural strength. He was in constant torment and desperation, but when Jesus met him, He didn’t flinch. Jesus gave a command, and with a word from Him, the demons fled from the man. But there was more to this story.

The evil spirits asked Jesus if they could instead enter a nearby herd of pigs. When Jesus agreed, the spirits possessed the pigs and drowned them in great numbers. The pig keepers ran to town and told the people there what they had seen, and a group returned with them to see for themselves. When they encountered Jesus and the man they who lived in the cemetery, who was now in control of himself once again, they asked Jesus to leave their region. Instead of being excited about what Jesus had done, they were upset and complained to Him. As Jesus was leaving, the man He had helped asked to come along, but Jesus told him to stay and spread the word of Jesus’s mercy to others.

We observe some important lessons from this story.

  1. Isolation from people is the worst form of existence. We want everyone to feel as if they belong together with us in Christ, even if it takes a special effort on our part.

  2. People are of more value to God than any thing. The people were concerted that Jesus might disturb something of theirs, too. If you value things more than you value Jesus you are either not a born-again Christian, or you’re chiseling at the foundation of your faith.

  3. If there is something oppressing or controlling your life, run to Jesus. Other things may help you in various ways, but the most effective help you can receive is from Jesus. He is the solution, the one that ultimately saves us.

[Due to technical difficulties, we do not have a audio-only podcast of this week’s sermon, but the service can be seen in its entirety on YouTube, linked below.]