Shaking Us From Our Sleep
A Message from Mark 5: 1-20
Unshackled by the Messiah
Here was a man who lived in the most deserted of places, among the tombs. He was demon possessed but in a most unusual way; no one, not one, not any chain or shackle could bind him. Twice we are told that he was strong; first in vs. 3 it says, no man was able to bind him and in vs. 4, that no one was strong enough to subdue him.
He possessed supernatural strength but it was a demonic strength. The text does show us however, another side, the human side of the man. While strong and powerful, Mark tells us that He was suffering deeply.
This suffering is described for us in vs.5. It says that, Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. Only Mark reports the sad state in which this man lived. Life was unbearable for him and surely he was seeking relief from this constant pain, going from place to place. We see him in the tombs, in the mountains, as well as in the wilderness, as Luke describes. But relief was still nowhere to be found until he meets the Messiah.
Drawing him out of the Tomb
Somehow, the demoniac knew about Yeshua. Somehow, he recognized in Him this power, because right away, as soon as Yeshua set foot on the other side, the demoniac immediately comes to Him. Verse 6 reads, seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before him.
But why did this man come to Jesus? He had kept himself in isolation and no one was able to approach him. Did the Spirit come on him supernaturally to draw him? We learn from John 6:44 that no one can come to [Jesus] unless the Father draw them. 1Corinthians 2:14 also reminds us that a person without the Spirit’s influence cannot receive the things from God. We may comfortably conclude then, that this trip across to the other side was planned by the Lord, to draw this man that he may be a public testimony before many, authenticating, to the Gentiles, the power Yeshua had over the demonic world. Perhaps as well, because of the great suffering this man endured (gashing himself with stones), the Lord in His mercy and compassion looked to instill hope in him. The spiritual battle was already at work and this demoniac found the power to hope in the healing that Yeshua could provide.
The Spirit Who Draws
As I was preparing this study, I received an email from a friend, an evangelist who works in a remote area I will not name because of the the opposition he faces there. He tells me that he walks hundreds of kilometers each week to reach some people in distant places, through very treacherous roads but he writes that he is amazed to see so many people coming to the a saving knowledge of Yeshua. And what he cannot understand and what surprises him is that most of these people never read the Bible, for most of them are illiterate. Yet, by miracle they just come to seek the Messiah. Again, we ask, how does this happen?
When the salvation of a person is at stake, the Lord will move heaven and earth for that one soul to come to Him. How exactly the demoniac or these precious souls in this remote area came to believe, we don’t know, but these miracles continue to happen even in our days and this is great news!
Being Careful What to Pray For
Now that the demoniac is cured and 2000 pigs have gone over the edge, let’s see the response from the people in that region.
See vs.17: And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned. After this great deliverance and seeing the man completely cured, wouldn’t we have expected them to ask Yeshua to stay and perform more of these miracles? Maybe not, for 2000 pigs is a lot of money, which these herders now lost.
But seeing His powers, they could have responded differently. They could have asked for some form of compensation and perhaps Yeshua would have given them another 2,000 or even 4,000 cows. But they did not ask. Instead, they demanded that He leave, and so He did. In fact, it says they prayed (vs. 17) that He would leave and Yeshua answered their prayer. This is a good example of how we must be careful of that for which we are praying. These folks missed a great opportunity and blessing. In spite of that, the Messiah left sure evidence of His available power to them, even after the refusal. The demoniac was told to go home and be a witness, telling his people what the Lord had done and how merciful He was to him.
Something important should not be missed concerning what transpired on both sides of the lake, both the Jewish and Gentile side. Notice how, in the region of the Gerasenes, after the incident of the demoniac’s healing and the pigs, they were gripped with fear, but fear of what? Of Yeshua’s powers? Of their financial future? But this same phenomenon was seen on the Jewish side of the lake as well. When the religious leaders saw that Yeshua performed miracles no one ever performed before, they were also gripped with fear, not because they saw an individual of power, but because they did not want to lose their jobs or their ruling authority.
They did not care if He was the Messiah or not, all they wanted was to keep things as they were.
Shaking us From Our Sleep
People on both sides of the sea of Galilee did not want to be disturbed out of their comfort zone. They like the status quo, and it is no different today. Status quo is from the Latin meaning the state in which, that is, not disturbing the existing state of affairs. Anyone reading the Bible would soon realize that the God of the Bible very often will move us past the status quo for us to exercise our faith and grow in maturity. He constantly moves in the hearts and minds of people to shake them out of their sleep. We can say that every prophet of God fought the status quo.
Abraham was asked to leave the comfort of his birthplace to go to a very undesirable region, Canaan. Moses was asked to leave the great comforts of Egypt to go into the desert of Sinai. Both could have said, “I am so happy where I am, why should I leave?” Did you notice how Yeshua’s presence upset the status quo in Israel? The priestly elite, the Sadducees, were wealthy and comfortable in their position, and they surely were satisfied with the status quo. The Pharisees, also a well-to-do class, were respected and well positioned in the religious society. Why change?
Into the Wind for Take-off
But as believers, we must not settle with what is stagnant and inert. When everything seems to be going against you, remember the relationship between the airplane and the wind when taking off.
Many assume that airplanes take off with the wind behind them. After all, conventional wisdom leads us to believe that wind creates resistance, so the plane is much better off getting the necessary altitude when taking off with the wind pushing it from behind. But when an aircraft takes off into the wind, it actually increases the flow of air over the wings, thus providing a better lift.
Applying the aerodynamic law to the spiritual life, we see that if we go with the trends of the world, with the wind, and in the same direction, it would be difficult to be lifted up above our issues and override our temptations. We need to go opposite the wind to reach that higher ground. So, like Yeshua and the prophets, let us not be afraid of thinking out of the box and keeping our courage up to fight the winds of our times.
In the spiritual world, status quo is just an illusion. Considering the Laws of thermodynamics, we learn that all matter continually tends to break down. Everything leans toward disorder. The same may apply to our moral and spiritual walk if we don’t keep a close tab on the direction we take in life.