Jesus Heals a Gerasene Demoniac
19But Jesus refused, and said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.’ 20And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.
I teach Sunday school at my local church to third and fourth graders. I taught this full passage Mark 5: 1-20 a few weeks ago. We played a game where we all attached multiple streamers to our backs. Each streamer signified a demon. We had to capture them off of each others back and throw them in the trash. Of course, the demons didn’t want to be captured, so mayhem ensued. We all pretended to be possessed as we crawled around on the floor attempting to pull the demons off of our friends backs. When all the demons were disposed of, we all were winners.
Then we read the entire passage together. When we finished, the conversation went immediately to the loss of 2000 pigs. The kids were concerned. Their point was that not only did so many pigs die, but all the food that those pigs provided was either lost or had to be eaten quickly. I wasn’t sure how to respond. We joked about having so much pig to eat.
But with this meditation, I have given it some more thought. When we consider this passage, our modern value system can skew the truth. The kids didn’t see the that the value of this one human far exceeds the loss of the pigs and that the value of defeating these demons, called Legion, was justified by any amount of loss. Yes, humankind are Earth’s stewards and that is important. Yet, we are the front line of a war against evil. Jesus sends this healed man off to fight that war through his words and proclamations.
Even today we must believe that evil is working against us by every means possible. Evil and sin destroys us the same now as it destroyed us then. We have not evolved. We are not better than the people of the Bible. This belief is arrogant and evil. It leads us to decline and eventually, I believe, despair.
Our decline resides in the loss of the respect for the sanctity of human life and the ability to perceive evil. People cloak it all in the idea of a personal morality that is absent of the divine. Our values are mixed up. Legion is among us again. Yet, Legion has learned stealth. The demons quietly corrupt the soul of our society as we move further and further away from God. God will eventually abandon us. And God will no longer pull the streamers from our backs.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we all have demons on our backs. Cast them out Lord; destroy them, so that we may go forth and proclaim Your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.