“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission. www.GregOlsen.com
Gospel – February 3, 2020 – Mark 5:1-20
Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance,
he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God, do not torment me!”
(He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”)
He asked him, “What is your name?”
He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.”
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.
Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
“Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.”
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
“Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.
Today’s story is a bit sad. There is a man possessed by many demons and the people have tried to shackle him in the tombs and keep him away from their families. But the demons that possessed the man made him so strong he would break the chains and shackles.
This is how Jesus finds him – rather, he finds Jesus. But the demon(s) known as Legion bow to Jesus and ask they be able to stay in the region of Gerasenes. So Jesus casts them into a herd of swine. The swine (2,000) run into the Sea of Galilee and drown.
But when the people come they are afraid of Jesus and ask him to leave. Only the man who had witnessed it all, the possessed man was unafraid. Jesus sends him out into the Decapolis to reunite with his family and carry the story.
Our problems may be many. They may keep us up at night. They may force us to be mean or ugly to those we love. We may even be shunned – imprisoned in loneliness. But Jesus is here and he will heal us. If we ask – like Legion humbled himself we too must open ourselves to Gods mercy.
Any problem or problems he can cast out and then we can return to our families and the life God wants for us.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…