A Crazy Story

Here’s a crazy story.

Once when Jesus went to the country of the Gerasenes, he stepped out of his boat and was immediately met by “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.”1

Wow! 😯 That sounds crazy! And that’s not even the crazy part of the story! 🤪What happens next? Jesus speaks with the guy and from what I can tell a bit of an exorcism takes place. And the unclean spirits in the man come out “and they begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country.”2  And they “begged him, saying, ‘Send us to the pigs’”3 and they entered a herd of 2,000 pigs who then “rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.”

Wow again! 😦 But that’s not the crazy part of the story either! 🤪 What happens next? The pig herdsmen tell the people in the town about it and they come and see the once crazy man “sitting there clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.” Hmm. 🤔 Afraid of what? Afraid of the sane man? Yes! Afraid of Jesus? It appears so. “And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.”6  Jesus just performed an incredible miracle, healed a tormented man, and the townspeople “began to beg him to leave. It seems they were more comfortable having a crazy man living on the edge of town then a once crazy man living in their midst! Now that’s a little crazy, don’t you think?  🤨 What happens next?

The townspeople want Jesus to leave, so what does he do? Jesus leaves! 😦 And I find that a bit crazy because why would Jesus not want to stay and help these unbelieving people? But you know what? Jesus never stays where he’s not wanted. What happens next? As Jesus was getting into the boat to leave, the once crazy man “who had been possessed with demons begged [Jesus] that he might be with him.”7  So what did Jesus do? “He did not permit him.”8  Wait! What? 😦 Why not? Why not allow this man who has been truly born again to join his group? The man begged” Jesus to go with him. But Jesus said No! I find that a bit crazy. 😯 What happens next?

Jesus told the man, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”8  Oh. 🙄 Well, then. That makes sense. 🤔

We’ve all seen that guy, you know—the crazy man who lives under the bridge. The dirty homeless guy with a wild look in his eyes, walking nowhere while talking to himself. We cross to the other side of the street to avoid him. And with good reason! He’s unpredictable and dangerous. We all know those people. In Jesus’ day they were labeled people with unclean spirits; today we call them the mentally ill. Those people. 😒

But I think we have more in common with those people then we’d like to admit. We are all slaves to something. Oh, what binds us may be more socially acceptable—like food or work. Or perhaps we are slaves to fear. We may be control freaks. But all of us are chained to some kind of sin in our lives. And sometimes they drive us (and others) crazy! 😏

So . . . what is the point of this crazy story? The obvious answer is that we who are bound by our sin can be set free through the mighty power of Jesus. In this story everyone is afraid and begging Jesus to do something. They are all desperate fearful people in need of Jesus. Kinda’ like us! But here’s the often-overlooked point of the story. The once crazy man begged Jesus to stay. The sane townspeople begged Jesus to leave.

So, who’s crazy now? 😒

1Mark 5:2-5     2Mark 5:10    3Mark 5:12    4Mark 5:13    5Mark 5:15    6Mark 5:17    7Mark 5:18     8Mark 5:19

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *