Legion revisited

I just re-read Mark 5:1-20 and got a fresh perspective on this account of one of Jesus’ healing miracles. In this passage, Jesus encounters a man possessed by demons who lives among the tombs. In short, Jesus commands the Legion of demons to leave the man and enter a nearby herd of pigs who promptly rush to their death by drowning.

This story has always fascinated me. In fact, I’ve written about it previously. As I studied this scripture again, though, I looked to find myself in it. Here’s what I found. I think I am the possessed man in the story…

Without Jesus, I am dead in my sins. I live among the tombs. Without Jesus, I cannot be controlled. My sinful desires drive me and no “chains”, not rules or responsibility or relationships, can keep me from pursuing what I want. With Jesus, though, I am seated peacefully by his side, in my right mind (v. 15).

The story does not end with Jesus restoring the man, however. Jesus understood all too well that a penalty had to be paid. He sent the demons into the pigs and the pigs paid with their lives… at great cost to their owners. This points directly to Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. This was a very expensive death indeed, but Jesus was the only one who could pay on our behalf.

Jesus concludes by telling the man (v. 19), “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.” This is also my command. It is my responsibility to tell others about Jesus’ saving grace, how He saved me from my sin.

The truth is that, without Jesus, you are also Legion. I implore you to come out of the tombs. Ask Jesus into your heart. A new life awaits!

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About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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