The Gospel of Mark Chapter 5 (we recommend trying the Reading Tips in the right panel)
Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Man
So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes.2 When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. . .
3 This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. 4 Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones. 6 When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. 7 With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.” 9 Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” 10 Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place. 11 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby.12 “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.” 13 So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water. 14 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. 15 A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. 16 Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. 17 And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. 19 But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” 20 So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.
About today's contributor . . . Nondumiso is from Swaziland and has been a volunteer with Riverkids for over a decade.
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My initial response is a grave concern for the pigs! I tend to be uncomfortable when innocent animals get hurt. And I was surprised by how deeply I felt for the possessed man’s isolation. I imagine just how tiring and uncomfortable it must have been to be him and to live with all that was going on inside of him. He must have felt helpless. I wonder what he felt when he saw see Jesus ‘some distance away’? I imagine this man running with a sense of hope that Jesus would help him. I hope that I would also have the same courage and vulnerability that this man had. I hope I would be able to run towards Jesus even while I am in a place of discomfort. How did you relate to today’s story?
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Reading Tips . . .
Start by asking God to interact with you
Ask for a fresh perspective
Expect to be challenged in your assumptions
Try imagining yourself in the story
Slow down and pay attention to your feelings, thoughts and reactions
When something bothers you, talk to God about it
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