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Mark’s first-century biography – page 16

They (Jesus and his disciples, c. AD 30) came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 
In Mark’s biography, the above was the first mighty work which took place outside of what had been the land of Israel – the so-called “Promised Land”. “The country of the Gerasenes” was, in that sense, a foreign country where the Lord God of Israel was unknown.

Before Jersey’s crematorium was built (1961) we all “lived among the tombs”. There was insatiable demand for more burial land. But we still live there.

The man whom Jesus “immediately met” had “an unclean spirit”. I’d like to own up to that. I’ve seen that in others for a long time. Now I know it’s in me.

What’s become even more obvious across the globe is that laws, policemen, armies and brain-washers cannot remove evil spirits in our world either. Nor can they stop us inflicting harm on our own selves.

‘Evil is the real problem in the hearts and minds of men.’ (Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist, 1879-1955) 
And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 

It was obvious to all present at this place called Gerasene that one person – on earth – had authority over all uncleanness and evil. And had the authority to specify exactly would become of each part of that multitude of uncleanness and evil.

Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea. 

Oh, dear! Not our pigs. Not the main source of our wealth. Don’t send these unclean and evil intangibles within people into anything which would affect our successful economy and the consequent States revenues!

The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 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. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 

The demons have gone out of this human being. But the price was too high. A decision was taken by those who were not present when the man was saved that Jesus must go. Today in Jersey, some would agree with them. Don’t be stupid. We’ve got to do what’s good for the whole island, not just for one human being. 

Would the removal of uncleanness and evil from everyone be good for the whole island – the restoration of all to their “right mind”? Were these people who asked Jesus to leave their country in their “right mind”?

‘Ourselves are the greatest snares to ourselves.’ (Richard Baxter, preacher and author, 1615-1691) 
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go to your home for your own and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.  

Tell your own folk “how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you”.  “He - began to proclaim - how much Jesus had done for him.”

Sinner Syvret

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