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Daily Bible Readings

A Hopeless Case of a Strong Man in the Tombs

Posted by Dan Sullivan on with 1 Comments

[1] They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. [2] And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. [3] He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, [4] 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. [5] Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.

Mark 5:1–5 ESV Read More

This guy is a hard case. He lives among the tombs outside of the city. Who knows what he eats or how he lives in the elements? He has done some terrible things worthy of being chained up by people in the city, but by some miraculous strength, he is able to break out of those chains. It says “nobody can overpower him” which means people have tried and failed. He spends his days crying out and cutting himself with stones. Surely, no one wants to come near him to help or to help him out. 

Jesus, on the other hand, has just crossed about 6 miles of storm-tossed lake to get to this man. He is the first (and will be the only) person they talk to on this trip. To say that Peter and the others risked their lives to come and be stopped by this madman would be a pretty accurate assessment of the last 24 hours. 

There are a lot of hard cases going on in our world. On the large scale, it is popular to show Facebook videos or TV news rants that stack up problem after problem with no action items at the end. They reach their goal of sowing despair and then they move on. There are guys on street corners with cardboard signs that we start to recognize. One day he’s up by Meijer, the next day he’s on the west side by Hardee’s. What in the world? 

We have our own struggles, too. There was a song by FFH that said “Lord move or move me” that expresses the standoff many of us have with a repeated sin or struggle. “I’ve always been this way and I always will” is a typical rip-off lie from the Enemy that we hear in these situations too. 

When Mark tells this story, he heaps up details about this guy in the Gerasenes. As you go about your day, notice how people heap up details about problems and struggles. All of the details that Mark lists aren’t the real problem here. They are awful, to be certain, but they are the fruit that the man is bearing out of the overflow of what is inside of him. 

That man forced everyone away from himself because of his lifestyle, but he attracted Jesus. The biggest words in this whole passage are easily overlooked at the front. 

”When Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him”

Jesus crossed this lake meet the guy that nobody else could approach. This is a microcosm of what Jesus did for each of us. Leaving His place with the perfect inexplicable glory of the Trinity of God, Jesus subjected Himself to a soaking wet boat ride. Jesus submitted Himself to a whole life of a man on earth in horrible circumstances to come across and reach out to us. 

Jesus showed up in our own lives, and immediately there met us. Spiritually speaking, before Jesus showed up we were as lost as a person crying and cutting themselves with rocks. Things and areas where no other person would venture, Jesus enters on purpose. 

Look on events today and those hard cases and remember that Jesus went through a lot to come face to face with them. Come back and read what happens tomorrow, because you won’t believe what is going to happen. 

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Tags: hard times, hope, mental illness, poverty, salvation, struggle


Nate Hamilton October 11, 2017 12:14pm

A beautiful telling of a difficult story. I can't wait for tomorrow!