Oct 28, 2012: When Life Seems Out of Control

Posted on : Oct 25th, 2012 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

There is one genre of movies that I will not watch. And this bizarre story in Mark 5:1-20 has all the makings of this particular genre of movies. It really feels like a horror movie. It’s late at night. The disciples and Jesus are on a boat. A storm brings them to the other side, and Jesus steps off the boat in a strange unfamiliar place. In fact, the place is a graveyard, and a mentally disabled man approaches Jesus.

Have you ever had a mentally disabled person approach you?  I think of the time when I lived in Shanghai, and I had a mentally disabled person follow me for a few blocks. It was a little scary. I remember another time when I was eating in Shanghai, and a man outside watched me eat my entire dinner and then waited for me when I left the restaurant. It was freaky. But probably the most bizarre encounter is when I was in a McDonald’s here in North Hollywood. I was teaching ESL to a guy, and a mentally disabled person came up to me speaking jibberish, and out of the blue he just hit me. I couldn’t believe what just happened. I did not know this man or ever say anything to him. He just seemed not in his right mind, and then he just went quickly on his way. I was a little shocked, overcome with disbelief of what just happened, and a bit freaked out.

I can imagine Jesus must have been a bit shocked by this mentally disabled man approaching him. And where are the disciples in this story? Did the disciples desert Jesus or just stay in the boat?

This mentally disabled man was something in this story. He’s living in a graveyard isolated from the living. He seems to be comfortable among the dead as if he is ready to be among them. Have you ever been kicked out of your community, your home, your church, your parents cut you off for being gay, your friends disown you for who you are, or have you ever just isolated yourself from everyone you knew? I can relate with that. I remember in my struggle in dealing with being gay, I just wanted to get away from everyone I knew. I left my home and everything of my life, and I flew on a plane to a place I had never been. I went to Taiwan to live. Talk about isolation. I was in a foreign country, where a language foreign to me was spoken, and didn’t know a person or thing. I was isolated. Have you ever been lonely, living in isolation?

This man in Mark’s story even cut himself with rocks. He was living a very destructive life. Have you ever caused pain to yourself? Many poor choices in our lives can bring harm and pain to us.

Life seemed out of control for this Gerasene man. In this man’s loneliness and pain, Jesus shows up. This is a remarkable story of how Jesus changed this man’s life from literally death to life.

Does life seem out of control for you or someone that you know? Join us this Sunday, as we look more closely at this Gerasene man and his incredible encounter with Jesus.



~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Mark 5:1-20

Jesus and the disciples came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him.

Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, “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 had said to him, “Come out of that man, you unclean spirit!”

Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country.

Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; and the unclean spirits begged him, “Send us into the swine; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.

The swine herders ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the man with an unclean spirit sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. Those who had seen what had happened to the demon possessed man and to the swine reported it. Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus refused and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much God has done for you, and what mercy God has shown you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.

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