Have you ever taken your kids to Chuck E. Cheese, and watched the reaction of the children when Chuck E comes out on stage? They love him. They cling to him. They want to put him in the car, take him home, and let him live in your bonus room forever and ever. And he’s just a mouse! No super powers, and his lips don’t even move. Yet children flock to him!
That was my thought this morning when I was reading Mark 5. My goal recently has been not just to READ the Bible, but to actually think about it, reflect on it, ponder it, and understand it. My passage this morning was this:
2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spiritcame 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[a]how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
My thoughts rested on verse 17. The people began to plead with Jesus that he go away. Why would they ask him to leave? Hadn’t he just done something miraculous? Hadn’t he just taken a man that had been possessed for what seemed like forever, had never led a normal life, and turned him into a normal person? Yet they asked him to leave. Why?
First, I don’t think they (nor we) understand the true concept of driving out demons. Today, we may try to treat demons of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts but only Jesus can truly take those thoughts away.
Second, they actually asked him to leave. Not knowing who he is, or what he can do, they asked the one person who can make everything right to leave. Why? Was it because they were afraid? Maybe because they thought he was a magician using black magic? Did they fear change? Or was it because they liked their lifestyle, and were afraid that if he stayed, he might take away some of the things they loved to sin with too? Perhaps it’s the latter. No really, think about it.
How often do we do the same? Afraid to ask God to show us our sin so we can change… because truly, we don’t want to change. I know those are my thoughts sometimes. That if I don’t acknowledge it, it doesn’t happen, right? But we know that’s not true. Whether we choose to confess our sin, doesn’t mean it never happened. And it also doesn’t mean God doesn’t know about it. Acknowledging it, and asking forgiveness for it is what we need to do. Because I don’t know about you, but I’d be a mess the day God gets into the boat and shoves off for another land while I’m left here to pick up the pieces without him.