Mark 5:1–8 ESV
They came to the other side of the sea, to 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. 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!”
We are moving into a series of stories that I would label as “impossible situations.” Today we see a man possessed by a demonic presence. The demons had literally driven him insane. They drove him into an exilic place of death: a grave yard. How much further from life and light could a person go? This was a person who had been written off, discarded, and left completely alone. Not only could he not be helped, he could not be restrained. He was completely disconnected from people and was totally at odds with himself, cutting himself with stones. We are looking at an extreme case, an impossible situation. How will Jesus respond to him?
Here’s what I find most interesting about this part of the story. The demonic spirits drove this man to the most isolated place on earth. This is the gravity of darkness and death. With the entrance of the presence of God, the gravity of the Holy Spirit overwhelmed the gravity of the evil spirits and literally pulled this man to the very feet of Jesus. No one could restrain this man, yet the Spirit of God seemed to move him almost effortlessly to the feet of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit, through the person of Jesus, and now through the body of Christ, walks right into the midst of the darkest places, into the most impossible situations and hopeless causes and sets captives free. The Holy Spirit, who is in you, is infinitely more powerful than the evil spirits who are in the world. The Holy Spirit never gives up on people, no matter what. When the Holy Spirit has full reign in us, he makes us the kind of people who never give up on people, no matter what.
The question we must answer is, Do we want to become the kind of people who never give up on people, who will believe beyond belief in the possibilities of God for anyone and everyone? These are the kind of people the Holy Spirit searches to find. To become this kind of person requires a willful decision on our part. It will mean being transformed into the shape of the love of God. We aren’t responsible to solve the problem. We are responsible to show up, to be present to Jesus in the presence of people facing impossible situations, and to be ever saying, sometimes aloud and other times under our breath, “Come Holy Spirit!”
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
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