“And They Begged Him”
Today’s Bible reading is Leviticus 4 and Mark 5.
Mark 5 describes a terrifying, tormented man. Jesus has arrived on the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee, in the country of the Gerasenes.
And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. (Mark 5:2-5)
Let’s imagine that 2,000 years ago, you were a tourist in the country of the Gerasenes. You’ve done some sightseeing around the Sea of Galilee, you lost track of time, and now you’re heading back to the inn for the night. But it’s dark. Really, really dark. As you make your way back to the safety of the indoors, you unknowingly pass through a graveyard. And there he is. The man who lives among the tombs.
Do you know what you would do if you came face-to-face with that man on a dark night? The same thing I would do. You would run as fast as you possibly could. And when you couldn’t run any longer, you would beg. You would beg like your life depended on it, because it probably would.
But do you know what this terrifying man did when he came face-to-face with Jesus in broad daylight? He begged.
And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea. (Mark 5:6-13)
The last words of Mark 4 were a question: “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 5 compels us to continue wrestling with the same question: “Who then is this, that even the demons beg before him?” But Mark 5 also contains the answer to the question: he is Jesus, Son of the Most High God (Mark 5:7). Even the demons believe–and shudder (James 2:19)!
May we believe. May we be healed. May we obey the Son of the Most High God today.