A devotional bonus from Mark 5.
The Christian radio broadcast, “Unshackled”, is the longest continually running radio program in history. Produced by the Pacific Garden Mission of Chicago for over 69 years, “Unshackled” has conveyed the real life stories of thousands of sinner’s whose lives were transformed by trusting Jesus Christ as Savior!
The great validating testimony of the Christian faith above all the world’s religions is not reformation but transformation! For more than a century doctors have practiced “psychology” attempting to address the ailments of man’s mind and soul. Medications, rehab centers, and mental institutions have all failed to “fix” troubled souls. Today’s “bonus devotional thought” from Mark 5:1-20 tells the story of the terrible ravages sin takes on a man’s life.
Crossing the Sea of Galilee, Jesus and His disciples arrived on the eastern shore known as Gadara where they were met by a man with an “unclean spirit” (Mark 5:2). We are not told when the man gave his soul over to demons; however, sin had taken every corner of his thoughts and affections, degrading and destroying his life.
Notice three visible details about the man. The first, his pitiful physical appearance: His body scarred by self-inflicted wounds; ropes hanging around his ankles and chains about his neck and wrists, all evidencing the desperate attempts of loved ones to control him (5:3-4). The second characteristic of this troubled man is his social isolation: cut off from family, friends, and neighbors, he made his abode among the caves and tombs (5:5). The third detail is his emotional condition exhibited by his tormented screams echoing off the hillsides “always, night and day” (5:5).
Seeing Jesus, in a fleeting moment of desperation, the man ran out of the hills and came to Him and worshipped Him (5:6). Jesus, evidencing His authority over demons cast them out of the man and they entered swine that could not abide the indwelling of such wickedness (5:10-13).
Rather than the protracted steps and methods of “reformation” that is the methodology of psychologists and psychiatrists, the demon-possessed man’s life immediately gave evidence of his conversion and transformation (5:8, 15). The change was so transformative that his family, friends, and neighbors observed he was “sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind” (5:15). “Sitting”… he was at peace, no longer needing to be bound with chains and ropes; “clothed”… no longer a wild man crying and cutting himself; “in his right mind”… repentant and rational.
How great was this transformation? In Mark 5:7 he wanted nothing to do with Jesus; however, in Mark 5:18 his love and gratitude for Jesus moved him to want nothing more than to be with Jesus.
Everything about the maniac of Gadara changed: His attitudes— he was “in his right mind” (5:15); His actions— he was “sitting” with Jesus (5:15); His appearance— he was “clothed” (5:15); His affections— “prayed Him that he might be with Him [Jesus]” (5:15).
God’s power not only overcame his rebellious spirit, it transformed his thoughts, mind, and affections. The power of the Gospel of Christ promises not only reformation; it promises total transformation!
2 Corinthians 5:17 – 17 Therefore if any man bein Christ, he isa new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith