We become captivated by the story of Jesus meeting a man who lived among the tombs. (Mark 5:3) This story is one about how the power of Christ overcomes the forces of darkness and demonic oppression. Restraint from chains and shackles could not contain this man. Day and night he spent his life among those who were dead. However, Jesus set him free! Recently, I thought upon this story from the Gospels as I visited a famous graveyard in Savannah, GA. I began thinking and praying about this while driving home and realized that we are a society and church which mirrors much of what this man experienced…we live among the tombs!
After reading through the passage (Mark 5:1-20), here are several points I reflected upon as I considered the application of this story to our day.
We idolize freedom – In the name of ‘freedom’ we fail to connect with any sense of community and responsibility. We run around using our idolatry and worship of liberty as an excuse for not participating in biblical community. (v.3,5) The only friends we hang around are dead people who never call us into accountability to grow in the faith.
We refuse restraint – We view any attempt to bring discipline into our life as a form of control or legalism. We shun the need to be set free! (v.7) We fail to realize that discipline is essential for fulfilling our individual call from God. We wander around the graveyard of individualism and refuse to allow living people access into our life.
Our companions are dead – We waste our time and resources with those who are dead and rotting. (v.5) The easiest way to go nowhere is to waste our time with those not moving! Instead of bringing life into the community of the dead, we allow the spiritually dead to bring their dead ways of carnal idolatry into our life.
We are driven by many spirits other than the Holy Spirit – Our life is consumed by the driving force of various idolatries and lust. (v.2,9) We hate to admit it but sports, exercise, hobbies, entertainment, family, jobs and success have captured our hearts. We are supposed to belong to Jesus, however, an honest look reveals that we actually belong to other sources of control. We are always on the go…helping to perform and support our idolatry. This in turn reveals our lack of genuine freedom in Christ. (v.15)
Our life reflects that of pigs rather than sheep – The driving forces in our life make us more akin to that of unbelievers (pigs) rather than believers (sheep). (v.12 cf. 2Pet. 2:22) Our life style can be seen very frequently in those who have no hope and who do not desire truth. In fact, it is hard to discuss how our life is different from those who reject the gospel.
Jesus is our only hope – We should make an honest examination of our spiritual condition to see if we are truly in Christ. (2Cor. 13:5) Most, like this demoniac in this passage, simply need Jesus. However, many believers are controlled and driven by the various idolatries we have mentioned. Freedom and peace await…but only as we yield to the hands and purpose of Christ in our life. As we do those around us will be amazed to find us peacefully sitting in the presence of Jesus with our right mind. (v.15) This change will bring a godly fear into their life, demonstrating that Jesus alone can set men free!
Are you tired of living among the tombs? If so, run to Jesus!!!