He was the most tortured spirit in the region. The agony in his soul was overwhelming. There was no hope for him. The world had given up on him. That was his story, until the day the Savior of the world climbed into a boat and sailed through a storm to find him. That was the day that everything changed.
One story in the Bible that has always caught my special attention and grabbed my heart is found in Mark 5:1-13. Please take the time to read this:
“So they arrived at the other side of the lake in the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from a cemetery to meet Him. This man lived among the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles – as he often was – he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.
When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw Him, ran to meet Him, and bowed low before Him. With a shriek, he screamed, ‘Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!’ For Jesus had already said to the spirit, ‘Come out of the man, you evil spirit.’
Then Jesus demanded, ‘What is your name?’
And he replied, ‘My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.’ Then the evil spirits begged Him again and again not to send them to some distant place.
There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. ‘Send us into those pigs,’ the spirits begged. ‘Let us enter them.’
So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.”
What a story, right? To me, this is such a powerful account of Jesus’ encounter with a deeply oppressed man.
My first question when I read this story is, “Why was Jesus here?” If there is one thing I understand from reading about Jesus, it’s that He didn’t do anything by accident. I don’t believe He was here by accident either. Jesus wasn’t lost. He knew this man lived here. He came to meet with him.
It reminds me of the story of the Samaritan woman. He shouldn’t have wanted to be there, but He needed to be. Why? Because there were people that needed to be set free. And this man needed to be set free too.
This phrase just crushes my heart: “Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.” How incredible his suffering must have been! How tremendous must the agony of his soul have been! The entire world had given up on him. He was left completely alone in the torture of his spirit. There was literally no hope for this man.
Except for one thing: Jesus saw him. He saw Him in that desolate place. When no one else dared to come close, Jesus did. Why did Jesus do anything for this man? There were crowds searching for Jesus everywhere, but He left them to find this one man – even sailing through a storm to get there! Why? BECAUSE JESUS LOVED HIM THAT MUCH. Because Jesus had compassion on him, and He desired to set him free.
Did you know that Jesus sees you in your desolate place? He knows you! He sees the agony in your soul, and just like He freed this man of a legion of demons, He can set you free from all that tears you up inside. There is no enemy too great for Him. Even demons must ask His permission to do anything! When the rest of the world has given up on you, He never will. He will leave the crowds and even sail through the storm to find you, because you matter that much to Him.
Jesus tells the story of the Good Shepherd who would leave the flock of sheep to find the one that was lost. He loves you that much! Do you believe that He can set you free today? Run to Him! Give your life to Him! Don’t wait any longer!