The reading for today is Mark 5:1-10.
Jesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man
5 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came 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 how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
The healing of the Gerasene demoniac is my favorite healing story. It is an eerie yet vivid account of Jesus healing a man who has suffered and who has been marginalized by his community. The demoniac was fully restored by Jesus and thus restored to the community.
The end of the account is most peculiar—the man, who was healed by Jesus—was told to, “Go home to your own people and tell them ho much the Lord has done for you. . .” (v. 19). The man thus follows Jesus’ instruction, and the scripture says that the people were amazed.
We have most likely all heard of, or even experienced, healing stories in which the experience of receiving a healing miracle was felt. Yes, God does, in fact, heal. God does not cure. God’s healing comes in what St. Paul takes about as a “new creation”. We are beginning to receive the highly anticipated vaccine for which we have waited for so long. We are in the beginning
stages to provide a “cure” for the COVID-19 virus. And while we are most thankful for the cure, we are still in need of healing.
Like the Gerasene demonic who was healed by the power of God, let us pray for God’s healing to come over us as we seek to heal from the devastation effects of the pandemic.
Let us pray:
Dear God, our Lord, Jesus healed many as a sign of the reign of God at hand. You send your disciples out to continue your work of healing. May we seek to provide healing to a hurting world in your name. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pastor Steve Cauley firstname.lastname@example.org
Pray for those who are sick and/or dying from the pandemic. Give thanks for the vaccine against the virus. Lift up prayers for the healing of the world.