Lenten Reflection - Mark 5:1-20 by Keirsten Bumgardner
“5 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” 9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 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; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. 18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.” Mark 5:1-20
Although some would argue that this entire passage was an allusion to the Roman military, and Jesus's power over his enemies, let's go deeper and try and understand the true meaning...
Jesus spoke to the demon directly, showing that he knew the man's heart was pure, and the "demon" had nothing to do with his true self, his true, God-given pure nature.
"...Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones."
This passage resonates deeply with me. I am sure we can all relate to depressive times, self-loathing, and utter desperation and despair. The key is to turn your face to Jesus and be reminded of whose you are-God's own. Turning and allowing Him to take your burden brings relief and peace.
During this time of Lent, our prayers and reflection require us to return to our true selves in order to completely commune with God, shedding our demons and meeting Jesus face-to-face.