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Saturday, March 2

Mark 5:1-20 Jesus Heals a Man Possessed by Demons

…The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the man possessed by demons sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion, and they became frightened. Those who had seen what had happened to the man possessed by demons and to the swine reported it. Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus refused and said to him, “Go home to your own people, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and what mercy he has shown you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone was amazed.


The story of the Gerasene demoniac is at once a bizarre and powerful miracle of Jesus liberating a suffering human being. Bizarre because there are talking demons and a herd of 2000 pigs who decide to run to their death in the sea. And powerful because of the generosity we see in Jesus as he heals and makes whole the man.

There is a crazed and tormented man living among the dead (in the tombs). He is feared and ostracized by the townspeople and a danger to himself as he stones his own body. When he sees Jesus, who has crossed the sea of Galilee and come into a Gentile area, he runs and bows down at Jesus’ feet. The unclean spirits recognize the power Jesus possesses as the “Son of the Most High God” and plead with him to not send them out of the country.  There is a large herd of swine grazing nearby.  The large herd indicates how serious this man’s bondage is.  The demons beg Jesus to send them into the pigs so their evil can roam around. What they did not foresee was that the herd would run downhill to the sea and drown, sentencing them to the abyss after all.

Jesus’ hospitality and service to the man are evident as he shows that he is triumphant over evil.  He liberates the captive and gives hope to hopeless people.

For the townspeople it is a story of not offering hospitality or service to others.  They fail to perceive the work of the Lord in their midst. They do not rejoice that the demon-possessed man is healed. They express no gratitude for what Jesus has done.  Instead, they beg him to go away!  It appears that they care more about their loss of property (the swine drowning) than the one man being set free of the “evil” within him.

Can we move toward such a possessed person who walks through our doors?  Possibly possessed by anxiety, depression, addictions, illnesses, or any force that seeks to take us over and separate us from God and each other. I think Jesus hopes that we can see our own failure in this story when we choose possessions/safety/comfort as more precious than the teachings of Jesus’ hospitality and service.

Our hope is grounded in what Jesus has already done. We have every reason to share the Good News and Love with each other. May we offer “hospitality and service.” May we not fail.


Gracious God, hear our pleas to be of service to our fellow man and offer the hospitality that Jesus offered throughout His ministry. Open our eyes and hearts to those who are suffering and

grant us the strength to help them.  We praise you and sing your Name.  Amen.

Virginia McCormick