Summary: In this closing message of the 3-part Episodes series, Dave looks at Jesus' healing of a demon-possessed man and explains the deep relevance of this passage to our lives in the 21st century
Episodes, prt. 3
Wildwind Community Church
October 3, 2010
Mark 5:1-15 (NIV)
1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.
2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him.
3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain.
4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him.
5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.
7 He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!"
8 For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!"
9 Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many."
10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.
12 The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them."
13 He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened.
15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
This is the first time in the history of Wildwind Church that I have preached about one of the episodes where we see Jesus in action as an exorcist – as one who casts demons out of people who are possessed. These scenes read strangely to modern people, to say the least. After all, we think, people who were considered demon-possessed at that time weren’t really demon-possessed at all. They must have been schizophrenic, or in some other way psychotic. They weren’t possessed, they were sick.
This shows how our modern vision of the world has blinded us. We do not see the world in spiritual terms. We think certain things are spiritual and certain things are secular. We think the battle in this world is between spiritual things and unspiritual things. But that’s not a Christian view at all. The Christian view shows us that everything is spiritual. There is actually no such thing as non-spiritual. We’re not trying to make sure that sacred things win and secular things lose. We’re trying to make sure that word gets out that everything is spiritual – that the material world – from your flesh and blood right down to the rocks and the trees – that it’s all spiritual – that it’s all being redeemed. See, that’s the mystery, that’s the gospel, that’s the message we have to proclaim. Jesus message was, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” It is here. It lives in you. That, my friends, is precisely what the world does not know. And unfortunately it is also what most of the church doesn’t know either. The world believes some things are spiritual and some things are sacred, and most of the church believes that too. That is the wrong message!
We have completely bought into this falsehood and our churches now help perpetuate this idea that there are spiritual things and unspiritual things in our world. The reality is that everything in the world is spiritual – the only question is in which direction. Everything is spiritual, but is it getting closer to God who created it, or is it hardening, and moving farther away. In the Bible, Satan is the being who is as far away from God as you can possibly get – actually referred to as antichrist. But guess what – Satan is still spiritual. If being far from God keeps you from being spiritual, there’s no way Satan could be portrayed as a spiritual being. So being unChristian does not in any way make someone unspiritual. Believing that you are unspiritual does not make you unspiritual either, just like believing you are a butterfly does not make you a butterfly. The gospel message is this: you are part of a spiritual universe, and you yourself are a spiritual being. Evangelism is about letting people who don’t know they are spiritual in on that secret – letting people know that they too are part of this vast creation God is redeeming and that they can live secure in the knowledge that they are immortal – that they will never die. Are you with me? Do you understand what I’m saying? The whole world is spiritual. The only question is whether or not we come to know this and live as if it is true, with all the amazing life and blessings that flow from living according to reality.