This story would even make Stephen King shudder…
As a gospel writer, Mark is the shortest of the four. His gospel is fast paced and action packed. He quickly moves through the life of Jesus letting the narrative speak for itself. This is one of many stories in the life of Christ, yet Mark takes a full 20 verses to let it be told. He does not quickly move through this story but tells it in detail. Mark wants his readers to see exactly what Jesus did and what the outcome was.
Context: Jesus had just calmed the wind and the waves in their water journey across the lake. They were frightened and amazed and said, “who is this, even the wind and the waves obey him.” Little did they know that the excitement was just beginning…
Have you ever felt frantic? Have you ever felt like life is out of control? Have you ever felt like there are so many things going on inside your heart you think you might explode? You feel completely overwhelmed and you do not know how to deal with it all.
This story shows us a man whose life was completely out of control and no one else could control or help him. But Jesus shows up, in a very unlikely, out of the way place, and heals this man. Jesus puts him back in his right mind. Jesus brings healing and restoration to a life of turmoil.
FCF: Our lives are out of control and only Jesus can put them back in order. There is a spiritual battle taking place for our hearts and we must fight the battle with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Admit that you have separated yourself from God and recognize the turmoil and destruction that is taking place in your hearts.
Jesus and the disciples show up on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. As soon as they get off the boat this wild, crazed, demon-possessed man comes running at them. They must have been scared. The guy was naked and completely out of control, not something you encounter every day. The man was so out of control that no one had been able to subdue him. Chains did not work and so he was banished to live among the tombs. It says that day and night he cried out and that he cut himself with stones. Can you imagine this being your life? No friends, no family, no real home, constantly being tormented. Not the kind of life any of us would choose.
So let’s say that your life isn’t “as bad” as this demon-possessed man, at least not on the outside. But how about your life on the inside? What is going on inside where no one else sees but you? Most of us are able to put up a pretty good front on the outside, we look good, we can act decently, we can generally carry on with at least a few good relationships. But that is the outside. I want us to take a good hard look at the inside.
Do you ever feel turmoil?
Does your stress level get to the point that you think you are going to snap?
Do you have any strained relationships?
Is there any pain on the inside? Have you been wronged or hurt and feel bitter?
A lot of us have some serious baggage we are carrying around. Do you ever feel helpless or hopeless?
Have your actions caused any strife in your life?
We have to admit that our rebellion against a holy God creates problems for us,it creates turmoil and can wreak havoc on our souls.
Are you willing to admit that your own sin has caused damage to your life?
You will not find peace in your heart until you let Jesus purify your heart.
When the demon-possessed man approached Jesus, he immediately knew who Jesus was, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”. Nobody had told the man who Jesus was, but the demons inside knew exactly who He was and they were scared to death.
I think sometimes we get this same feeling when we encounter God. We know, like the demons, who God is, but we also know who we are on the inside. So we get this queezy feeling when we realize that we are really not living life the way God intended it to be lived. And then we get confused and struggle with what to do with our lives. Some of us panic, some of us hide, some of us just put on a better show and hope the queezy feeling goes away.
So what are we supposed to do?
We have to admit that we have separated ourselves from God and recognize the turmoil and destruction that is taking place in our hearts. This is not easy. We have to let go of our pride that says we have it all together when we really don’t have it all together. We have to turn away from our self-centered way of life. We need to see it for what it is, a fake, a mirage, an empty way of living life that does not bring lasting peace but constant turmoil and anxiety.
And then we turn to Jesus and beg him to heal us. He is ready, he is waiting, he is willing to take that chaotic, frantic life you have and put you back into your right mind. What other good news could there be? The gospel of Jesus is hope, it’s healing, it’s peaceful, it’s forgiving, it’s gracious, it’s merciful, it’s compassionate. The gospel is your only hope because only the gospel changes everything!