In Mark chapter 5, the story is told of the healing of a demon possessed man. It’s a pretty wild story, I think. First of all, the man comes to meet him and it seems as if he has been summoned. But there is no language here to suggest that. It is apparent that the demons in the man could sense Jesus’ presence and knew that he was their Master. Secondly, Jesus says, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!” but then has a conversation with “Legion” as he calls himself. So did the demons not come out at Jesus’ command? Or was Jesus then talking with a disembodied conglomeration of demons? Thirdly, I think the request to be sent into the pigs is weird. And why did Jesus honor it? Does God show compassion to even demons? That’s a strange thought indeed. Then the next weird thing comes into play. The townspeople ask Jesus to leave. I can imagine they would be pretty ticked that they lost all their pigs and pretty weirded out as well, but the demon possessed man was “in his right mind”! Did they not think of their other sick family and friends? The wildest thing, at least in my opinion, is Jesus’ response when the man who was demon possessed wants to go with Jesus. He wanted to follow him wherever he would lead. He wanted to be his disciple essentially. And Jesus told him no. He did not let him. Instead he tells him to go home to his family and tell them what God has done for him and how he received God’s mercy. I wonder if the man was sad. I wonder if his heart fell. I wonder if he has tears in his eyes. Jesus had just changed his life. He went from death to life in a vary real way and yet he was being left behind. How sad. I am sure Jesus had his reasons. Namely I think it’s safe to say the advancement of the kingdom, but it just strikes me the feeling of loss I am left with after reading this passage.
In some ways, I think what I am seeing here is related to what I wrote the other day about being wrapped around the axle. I have a feeling that although this man was left behind by Jesus in one sense of the word, Jesus did not forsake him. He was not abandoned in his needs. God is bigger than the distance that seperated them soon after he changed his life.