Startled and Unusual - The Walking Dead or The Living Christ - You Choose
Startled and Unusual .. to say the least! You know, when you read about Jesus in the Bible .. the one thing that amazes me .. is how we as "men" .. somehow think .. and believe that Jesus had not "seen it all" .. or ever dealt with whatever it is we feel too ashamed to talk with Him about ..
If you read in the Gospel of Mark .. Mark 4:35-41 .. you can get a mind picture of the "front story" .. Jesus Calms the Storm .. when all the big, burley strong fishermen were all afraid of the storm .. they thought they were going down .. Jesus "calmed the storm" .. then looks what comes next - Mark 5:1-19 .. Jesus and His disciples had just crossed the Sea of Galilee by boat and Jesus had just miraculously calmed the fierce storm. Everything was "cool" .. or was it? .. Maybe that storm was an attempt by Satan to keep Jesus from reaching the other side because he somehow Satan considered it his turf? .. Maybe you're having storms in your life too and the most relevant question is WHY? .. maybe Satan thinks .. you are his turf because of all the years you have led a sinful life?
As they land on the shore .. consider the "welcome" that they get at the area of the Gerasenes... Jesus got out of the boat. A man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. The man lived in the tombs. No one could keep him tied up anymore. Not even a chain could hold him. His hands and feet had often been chained. But he tore the chains apart. And he broke the iron cuffs on his ankles. No one was strong enough to control him. Night and day he screamed among the tombs and in the hills. He cut himself with stones - Now, there's something you don't see every day. You visit a new town, and the first person you meet is a naked demoniac who comes running out of a cemetery screaming at you.
You know, some people watch TV shows like The Walking Dead or The Vampire diaries .. or some such nonsense .. and in their heart of hearts they "minimize" evil .. JUST READ ABOUT WHAT JESUS DID ..
First of all, we need to understand that demonic spirits are real and that they really can and do influence people's lives. How do we know that this man was demon possessed? Consider Jesus' first words to him .. Keep in mind here that Jesus is not addressing the man - Jesus is speaking only and directly to the demonic forces that had come to inhabit this pitiful individual:
9 Then Jesus asked the demon, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied. “There are many of us.” ( historians tell that a Roman legion was some 6,800 soldiers!) .. I'm sure you know how this story ends. Jesus casts the horde of unclean spirits out of the man and into a nearby herd of about 2,000 pigs. which promptly proceeded to run off a cliff into the ocean.
I'm directing your attention to this story because it is an extreme, and clear example of how unclean demonic spirits can take up residence in the life of a person and influence his or her behavior for the worse. We're living in a day in which fewer and fewer people believe that demonic spirits exist. And many well-meaning Christians have been taught that demons can't have any influence on a Christian. I was certainly taught that in the Catholic Schools I attended .. But I have learned the hard way that it's not true - The Devil is real and his input and lies are real - I've also learned that it's possible to be free of him and his lies, and that getting free makes a huge difference .. and it's all in the "blood covering of Jesus ..
Consider the radical difference for that man who encountered Jesus .. as the LEGION OF EVIL PLEADED .. 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. Let us go into them.” 13 Jesus allowed it. The evil spirits came out of the man and went into the pigs. There were about 2,000 pigs in the herd. The whole herd rushed down the steep bank. They ran into the lake and drowned. 14 Those who were tending the pigs ran off. They told the people in the town and countryside what had happened. The people went out to see for themselves. 15 Then they came to Jesus. They saw the man who had been controlled by many demons. He was sitting there. He was now dressed and thinking clearly. All this made the people afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told them what had happened to the man. They told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to beg Jesus to leave their area. 18 Jesus was getting into the boat. The man who had been controlled by demons begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him. He said, “Go home to your family. Tell them how much the Lord has done for you. Tell them how kind he has been to you.”
We're living in a day in which fewer and fewer people believe that demonic spirits even exist .. then every now and then you hear some horrible news story about someone who murdered their family .. or whatever .. and they say something like - The demons in my head kept telling me to do it .... It's not like the old Flip Wilson comedy show in my day where "Geraldine" character had a famous TV line - "the devil made me do it" .. we all laughed and we thought it was all so funny .. BUT IT'S NOT FUNNY ANYMORE .. I've seen too much in my life to .. and learned that the old story we learned about "fallen angels" is not some way out there fantasy - God's Word suggests that one-third of the angels fell when they joined Lucifer's failed rebellion. (See Hebrews 12:22 and Revelation 12:4.); Now math isn't my strong suit, but even I can calculate that if one-third of the angels joined Satan's team, then two-thirds remained allied with God. This also means that for every one that's against me, there are two for me. We've got them outnumbered two to one! Even so, we need to be aware of the existence and activity of demons. We need to recognize their strategies - THEY ARE NOT "everywhere at once" .. like Our God .. who is "omnipresent" ..
I'm not talking about being the kind of person who perceives a demon behind every bush - some today go to extremes. or on the opposite hand, some folks think where demons are concerned there is skepticism and superstition .. the skeptics doubt that demons are real and can influence them .. the superstitious people attribute everything to demonic activity. The word demon appears 82 times in the New King James Version of the Bible. Sixty-one of these occurrences are in the Gospels. ASK YOURSELF - Why such frequency?
I think we see it so much in the Gospels because no one ever had authority over the demons .. until Jesus came. Jesus has "all authority" .. just read .. Matthew 28:17-19 .. and when He entered into His ministry Jesus immediately started to identify and confront the demonic strongholds and the things that held people in bondage. In closing, please let me tell you about the very, very good news of Jesus Christ - If there is some area of your life where you seem to fail again and again ... if there is some destructive pattern that replays itself in your life over and over ... that's a form of bondage. The good news is, you can be free! Why live another day beneath your privileges as a son or daughter of God?