Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Family Restored

Night and day among the tombs and on the mountainsides, the tormented man shrieked and screamed and cut himself with stones. (Thought: stones can represent the Law.) Jesus came and gave him grace. "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" Jesus commanded of the unclean spirit residing in the pitiful man who made his lonely home among the tombs and on the mountainsides. "What is your name?"

"My name is Legion, for we are many," the unclean spirit replied; "But please don't send us out of this region. Send us into that herd of pigs feeding near the mountains."

Immediately, Jesus gave the order, and the entire herd of two thousand hogs rushed headlong down the steep slope into the sea and drowned.

How that poor man, created in God's image, house those two thousand evil spirits? He must have resisted them with the part of him that was able to do so. He did not kill himself. I can only imagine the intense agony he endured as he screamed and shrieked and cut himself to try to find relief. He had no sleep or rest. He had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he just pulled the chains apart and broke the shackles into pieces. Nobody could tame him.

No one could help him. Perhaps he begged to be chained so he couldn't hurt himself anymore -- all to no avail. When he saw Jesus come toward him, he ran and fell on his knees in homage. Perhaps he thought this person could finally tie him down securely. Instead of binding him, the Man gave an order of freedom: "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" And he was gloriously freed!

Human shackles for his feet, handcuffs and chains to tie him down, were ineffective. (Binding him with the Law was powerless to bring deliverance. How often do we put religious commands and restrictions on people that produce burdens of guilt or shame, that are powerless to bring change and freedom? We are to free the captives, and set at liberty those who are bruised.) I'm sure this poor man's entire body was bruised.

I can imagine this man's mother with a heavy heart as she went about her work every day, longing to have her son restored -- to have him back with the family. I wonder how many nights she cried herself to sleep, wondering where her boy was, what he was doing, if he'd had something to eat that day. . .

I wonder how many times she lay prostrate before the God with tears in earnest prayer for his healing and deliverance.

I wonder if she endured sideways glances and whispers among the townspeople's gossip and blame: "Her son is incurable. He's a real nut case. If she had been a better mother, he wouldn't be this way now. Tsk, tsk. . ."

I wonder how much shame, blame, and self-hatred she felt because of mistakes she'd made as a parent. And her husband--well, he'd not been a good role model for her son. Perhaps she blamed him, too. Her family was torn apart. Jewish holidays and celebrations weren't the same anymore.

I can imagine the inner torment she felt tore a raw, gaping hole in her heart as she longed for her son. It had been so long since she'd seen him. What would become of him? The bright future she'd envisioned for him seemed swept away like writing in the sand was washed away on the shores of the sea of Galilee.

People likely considered him a great nuisance -- disturbing the peace, if you will. Perhaps they tried chaining him to a tree in that open-air mental institution. Did the Roman soldiers try to tie him down? Perhaps the same Roman soldiers who later nailed Jesus to a tree. . . a tree that brought us freedom.

I wonder.

I imagine the overwhelming joy that mother felt as she saw her son come up the road toward home, clothed, and in his right mind. I can well imagine the family celebration of joy that followed as he told them of the great compassion of Jesus for him, and of his Deliverer.

Her prayers had been answered. Her son was home, with family, where he belonged.

Internet Photo

Taken from Mark, chapter 5, Amplified Bible.

Copyright © 2017 Elaine Beachy

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