Bible Reading Blog
“Dealing With Demons”Categories: Congregational Bible Reading
BIBLE READING: Mark 5
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” (Mark 5.7)
Mark 5 exists to pull back the curtain on a world we can’t fully understand. Jesus is so powerful that even the most insidious legion of demons recognized his authority and submitted to him (Mark 5.7). His power is beyond our human comprehension. But despite the presence of these spiritual forces, notice how Jesus brings his power down to a human level.
Jesus engaged the demon possessed man in a conversation. This was a man whom the town had cast-off as hopeless and was forced to live by himself in a destructive condition (Mark 5.4-5). His demon possession had become his identity (Mark 5.3-4), but Jesus shows up and treats him like he did everyone else. In fact, Jesus even asks the demon his name (Mark 5.9).
Consider the contrast between the actions of Jesus and the townspeople. They tried to bind and subdue this man (Mark 5.3-4), but to no avail and so they rejected him. He was a person with a problem, and it was easier to let the demons do their thing where it wouldn’t bother them.
The townspeople are often an afterthought in this story, but they were as much in need as this demon possessed man. The townspeople had become comfortable with the presence of the demons as long as they could continue their lives as usual. However, when that dynamic changed, “they began to beg Jesus to depart” (Mark 5.17) because in him they met a situation beyond their control.
Jesus’ actions show us that he is in the business of personally engaging people. He didn’t brush anyone aside but instead he engaged every situation with a hands-on, personal approach. He wanted this man to know he cared, and he wanted to help.
This story allegorically depicts the feelings of rejection and struggle many of us face within ourselves. Much like this man, we sometimes experience chaos, confusion and fear as we battle “demons” from our past and present. We may come to Jesus wanting to change and then buck against him when he calls us to do it. These things can overwhelm to the point where it comes to define our existence. In fact, we may fear losing these things because we have come to accept them as part of our identity.
But Jesus doesn’t see us for our “demons” but for our humanity. He commands and wicked, broken, degenerate, dead lives are restored (John 6.63; Ephesians 2.4-6). Although he doesn’t physically engage us in conversation, his words are the mode for encouragement and restoration. Jesus’ power is in his words.
This story should also challenge us regarding how we see and interact with other people. It’s easier to stay aloof than to invest in the lives of other. We need to be careful not to dismiss those who are unlike us, or who may have baggage in their lives. God designed us to be relational people who serve and speak with others.
These types of relationships can be uncomfortable and challenging for some of us. Our flesh wants something it can know and control. But Jesus imposes on the comfort zones of each one of us with patience and grace. The question is, will we beg him to leave or will we beg to follow him (Mark 5.17-18)?
“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5.19)