Friday, September 2, 2011
1,000 Demons! I think.
"And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid." - Mark 5:14
I don't know much about demon possession. I try and steer clear of it as a rule. As a kid I had this rule never to point my finger at the word Satan in my Bible or something bad would happen. I also thought that perhaps I was the next Messiah, as I really never did anything bad, and I had valid reasons for everything I did that "looked bad". I was a curious kid.
But I've had a few brushes with "evil" in the past couple of days. The first was at a used bookstore where I was looking for Christian Fiction and found myself walking down an isle labelled "Occult". I normally would have run, but there was a lady perusing and I don't want this Satanic woman to think I was an easy target and cast some horrible curse on me that she had just learned from her book. My second was this listening to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" this morning. It kind of gave me the creeps. Although I feel brave for having listened to the whole thing. (Not really. How could anyone be afraid of someone with that high of a voice?)
Here in Mark 5 we have an extreme example of demon craziness. This poor guy had been possessed not by 1, nor 2 but an entire legion of demons! I feel really dumb right now because I can't remember how many a legion is. I think it's 1,000 so we'll go with that.
This poor guy had a whole demon community dwelling in him. Can you even imagine what he must have been involved with or gone through to have arrived in his state? Maybe he listened to "Thriller" over and over and was terrified of high voices.
And that community had reeked havoc on his home community. I don't blame them for being mad. Being the sensitive and caring folks they were, they had tried to tie and shackle the guy with chains, and he'd broken them. Can you imagine braking chains (just as I typed that some really creepy music came on in Starbucks. Yike!)? And then this group of people saw some dude come into town and simply have a discussion with the demons and get rid of them. I'd be thinking, "Yike, yike, yike, run away, just run away!" I'd definitely send this Jesus guy away, but of course I'd have already run far far away.
And can you imagine the damage that being possessed by 1,000 demons, let me say it again - 1,000 demons! - would do to your psyche? This poor guy's soul and self-awareness must have been utterly and totally gone and lost.
And then Jesus. Then a man. Then peace.
Jesus does this in our lives. He clothes us and puts us in our right mind. The power of the gospel message - that we are utterly freed, healed and forgiven - should leave us sitting in a stupor, as I imagine this man was. But sadly it doesn't.
I don't know exactly why it doesn't. Perhaps because our experiences with Christ are less dramatic. But they really aren't if we think about it. Jesus took on all of hell for us didn't he.
We were not only open to 1,000 demons, but to the prince of darkness himself (my fingers tingle even typing this). And we would follow this prince to the grave. We were "happy" in our sin. In a way we liked cutting ourselves and braking chains.
We participated with Satan in a grand rebellion that ripped through the cosmos, a rebellion that tore through every atom in our bodies. We ruined everything.
But for me, this morning, even these words seem hollow. They don't express the depth of Christ's rescue. He did something for me that I'll never be able to express fully. And I'm glad for that. I'm glad that hear I sit, at peace and in my right mind. At least sort of.
And sorry about the picture, it's very creepy.