2000 Floating Pig Carcasses

Mark 5: 1-20 - Jesus heals a Demon Possessed Mad Man

So here's the scene: Jesus and his guys sail over to the shore - get out of their boat and a madman, who cuts himself with rocks and has rope burns and sores on his ankles and wrists where the people have tried to shackle him (but haven't been able to), runs up to them. The man lives among the tombs - night and day running about the mountains, crying out and "gashing himself with stones." Not only so, this man is full of a legion of demons - and Jesus, of course, demanded they come out. But instead, the demons beg Jesus to send them into a herd of 2000 pigs nearby. Jesus gives them permission to do so, and consequently the whole herd runs down the steep hill into the lake and drown.

Now I'm trying to imagine 2000 pig carcasses floating near the shore. (Coincidentally, when Jesus and his guys get back into the boat right after this encounter, they have to navigate through 2000 pig carcasses in the lake. Think of that!)

And, naturally the sight of 2000 dead, floating pig carcasses is a curiosity - so upon hearing of it, droves of people come from the town to gawk. And what they see frightens them. I find it odd that what frightened the onlookers this day was not a gashed up, filthy madman who could not be contained in ropes and shackles. What frightened them was seeing the madman "clothed and in his right mind." Jesus made him perfectly sane - "normal" - healed and whole.

The people begged Jesus, "Leave us alone."

Sometimes what Jesus does unshackles our nice, comfortable, predictable worlds. When our comfort, livelihood and personal possessions get altered/challenged/affected by Jesus - well unfortunately, we have grown too used to life with the madman. We don't know what to do with life with the sane man - and 2000 dead pigs floating in the lake. We say, "Jesus, you're too wild - I'd prefer to live with the demons - at least they're predictable. I've made adjustments - I've gotten used to them. I know life is not as full and rich and free as it can be, but I'm managing well enough. Leave me alone. Leave us alone."

What horrifying words - "Jesus, leave me alone!"

Reflection Questions:

  • What areas of your life are "madmanish"? (i.e. you've tried to gain control and subdue it, but nothing has happened)?
  • What fears, ignorance or selfishness interferes with you receiving God's help?
  • Describe what life would be like if you were freed - perfectly sane, healed and whole?
  • Are there areas of your life where you have consciously or unconsciously said, "Jesus, leave me alone!"?
  • Invite Jesus to peel back your fingers and to let him free you. Lay your fears, ignorance, selfishness down before Him and say, "Jesus, you are wild and unpredictable - I want to be freed and I want trust you so do not leave me alone in this."

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