It seems the disciples just can’t catch a break when it comes to traveling with Jesus. Following a chaotic night sailing through a violent storm, they finally reach their destination only to be confronted by a man possessed by demons. This man lived in the cemetery because he was not welcome in his town. The strength of his demons was such that he could not be restrained, so he was left to live alone running among the graves. Alone that is, until he encountered Jesus.
We can’t forget that Jesus and the twelve had crossed over into Gentile territory. They were the strangers; they were not among those who even followed their laws. It is early in Jesus’ ministry, so it is probable that no one in this land had heard about him yet. But look closely; the demon recognized him, knew his power and fell at his feet. Such is the power of God’s mercy in a world turned in on itself. Jesus has the power to free people from the grips of their demons.
In our world today, few actually believe in the demon possessed. Seldom do we hear accounts of individuals being harassed and tormented by demonic powers that have seized control of their lives. In actuality, this could not be farther from the truth. The powers of evil manifest themselves in so many ways. Satan’s demonic helpers are more than capable of taking control of someone’s and throwing it and their family’s life in the same chaotic state as the seas the twelve crossed in order to get to the land of the Gerasenes. Fear, anxiety and panic are all a part of such a life. Jesus, however, has the power to rid people of such demons.
As we read out text, notice how the demons recognize the power of Christ. “What have you to do with me Jesus, Son of the most high God?” The power of Christ is such that as we call upon his name we are strengthened to face the demons in our lives because we know we do not face the alone. Jesus is with us and he shows us in this text how to gain power over the powers that lead us astray. Call your demon by name.
The first step of expelling that which leads you away from God is to name the demon. Alcoholism, drug addiction, and abuse are all examples, but they are far from the only ones. Identifying that which is exercising power over you is the first step to gaining control. Once the demon is identified, call upon Christ, fall at his feet asking for his mercy and grace. Surround yourself with the people of God whose faith and strength will help carry you through. Most of all, do not feel as if you have been abandoned. Just as the demons in the world are many, so too are the people of God.
The newly cured man hoped he could go with Jesus back to the other side of the lake. Jesus, however, had other plans for him. “Go home…tell your friends how much the Lord has done for you.” The gift of God’s grace is too good to keep to one’s self’ it must be shared. As we tell others, of course some will doubt, but the proof is there before them. Others will see the difference God’s grace makes; they will also believe. Be thankful for all that God has done and continues to do. Go in joy and peace and proclaim the goodness of God, for Christ is with you.