“Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
It great to be with you this morning as we head towards Christmas. Um, think I’m going to be doing the last sermon in the series we’ve been doing of looking at individual, uh, biographical sermons. We’re going to be in the book of Mark chapter five. Um, as you turn there, want to tell you, we, I had a chance to be in Israel a couple years ago.
I’ve shared this with you. And one of the things that we were able to do while we were in Israel’s, we were with, um, a group of people who did the Shabbat, the Sabbath together, and, uh, the man of the house where we went to who led us through that ceremony. And that time had lasting impact on me that. They took the rhythm of life to take this time and how they did it.
And, and we, we took some of those, uh, traditional aspects and moved it to, to my family and how it fit in the rhythms of our family. And we do something called the Friday night feast. On our Friday night feast week, we spend the day making sure we get all the details done. We try to get the house picked up.
One of our rules is you have to wear comfortable clothes and we get comfortable clothes. And we go, and we have a big meal as a family on Friday night. And we talk over, uh, what has happened in this. The past week, where have we seen evidences of God through love and peace and laughter. And we tell stories and recall the times we quote the beatitudes together, as we seek to remember how God moves throughout our week.
And it’s been a special time for us. But getting to Friday night, feast is full of what, um, the word that I learned in Israel was Bala Balogun, which is a word for chaos. And before the Sabbath happens in Israel, you can go in the streets of Jerusalem and it is packed. It is chaos. It is Balogun everyone getting.
Yeah. Everything that they need so that they’re ready so that they can rest. That has become a part of our lives. That Friday is filled with a lot of different stress and chaos, so we can finally get to feasting and rest. I think the goal of my inner life, the goal of my life would be to live more in feasting Friday type space.
And less in the ball of how can my life embrace the patterns of Jesus and live in that grace live in that rest more rest and less in the stressed. How does Jesus bring rest to the weary and light weakness to our load? If you will pray with me in the, meet me in Mark chapter five.
Lord. It is an honor to be here with people, Mount Laurel people, online, people of Collingswood would lock watching online today and recognize that it takes a lot of extra effort and time and figuring and registering to attend a service. We thank you for the commitment of your people or the grace that you’ve given us in one another, we ask you Lord during a really wild season for our whole world where we feel fear everywhere, conflict, which is hand in hand with fear everywhere.
We pray God for. We know our outer lives, no much bile Lagon, much chaos may our lives with you. Our inner worlds be marked by peace. Give us grace in this time as we enjoy your son. Jesus. Amen. So, what we’re going to do is simply on the slides this morning is I just got the scripture and we’re just going to walk through the scripture this morning and enjoy this story.
I love this story, a title of the sermon, a couple of different things. One spiritually. I call this Jesus dresses, seats, and places us in our right minds. Um, What I kind of would also call it as Jesus and the demon pigs. That’s kind of what you’ll remember anyway, but, um, this aspect of what does it take for Jesus to give us this re-ask and you’ve just flashed up the first slide and we’ll just start walking through the scripture here.
And the very first verse, it says they came to the other side and they went across the Lake to the region of the Garrison scenes. Now. We talked about this in Collingswood, um, Aerie, the map of Israel you’ve may have seen a bunch of different times. And if you look at the map of Israel, now it’s different than the map of Israel before the easiest way, for me to remember what the map of Israel looks like is a tater tot with a string to a hot dog.
Okay. Imagine a tater tot with a string to a hot dog, and literally all the events or majority of the events in the, in the story of Christ happens around the tater tot string and hotdog. The tater tot is the sea of Galilee. The string is the Jordan river and the hot dog is the dead sea. And if you follow a lot of the ministry, you can kind of place it around that very unhealthy meal.
The tater tot. Is where we are today. And what happens is Jesus crosses over. He’s gone, he’s above Samarria. Now he’s up in this region and he is gone across the, you know, the story of the storm going across the sea of Galilee and is now arrived in the Garcia’s presumably never been here before. This is a new place for Jesus’s ministry.
And this is where this story takes place. The text says immediately when Jesus got out of the boat and man of impure spirit immediately, it’s not in this version, but the word is youth. This and it’s important for us came from the tombs to meet him. The reason why this word immediately or youth, this translated here as came, um, is important is because it shows up in Mark all the time actually was reading in the book of Mark and, uh, I was just going through and I’m like, why does Mark always use this word immediately?
And if you look at the different gospels, how many of you are action movie type people. Okay. How many of you action, movie type people out of you? Action, movie type people. Have you ever tried to watch down to Natty? I tried. Oh my goodness. So many people, I love, love that show. And I’m just like, is this scene ever going to end?
And then people are like, do you see the nuance? Of the way the color is on their costume. And I’m like, I don’t. Care, blow something up, right? If you are an action movie person, Downton Abbey is not your show, but the gospel of Mark is your gospel. Mark uses this word youth this immediately 41 times of the 59 that it’s in the new Testament, 41 in Mark 18.
And the rest of the new Testament. Mark is continually. Is this the way of telling his story is the action and reaction of what happens in the ministry of Jesus. It is an action packed gospel, and this story begins with this same word youth. This there’s a readiness that happens in the, in the ministry of Christ and we see often Christ immediately acting or someone immediately.
Acting and coming upon him, causing him to react. And that is what’s happening in this place. Ministry is done in real time. His love was given with real people with real needs coming youth. This immediately, all the time good text goes on from there and says, this, this man lived in the tombs and no one could bind him.
Any more. Okay. Any more. So there’s a sense of growing empower could bind him before can not anymore, not even with a chain for, he had often been chained his hand and his foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him night and day among the tombs and in the Hills.
He would cry out and cut himself with stones. This dude lived in the graveyards. He has been subdued by chains, right? The text is clear irons, right? It’s not talking, it’s talking in the most extreme language of, they have tried. Everything may be successful in the beginning, but nothing is successful any more.
I want you to imagine your hometown. All right, wherever your town you’re coming from, whether you’re online this morning or you’re here today, where’s your hometown. Imagine this dude hung out in the graveyard of your town. Right. I maybe you get a newspaper, right? Your town, maybe you’re just part of a County newspaper.
Maybe you’re on a Facebook of your town of people talking about things in the town. Have you registered for soccer? And what do you think about the fireworks schedule? Whatever happens in the talk of your town with your neighbors. This dude lives there. Imagine. How preoccupied your town would be with this threat people calling together meetings at the town hall saying, what can we do?
We can’t stop him legends happening all around neighboring towns of like, can move into that town. It’s the town with the graveyard crazy man. Right? You can’t it’s this sense of legend, right? I got little kids. My lifestyle’s like beauty and the beast, right? This is my kind of world, the Gaston, if not beauty, the beast, there’s this great beast out there.
And he said, I’m not coming home. Tell his head is mounted on my wall. And you can imagine the upstart youth in this area thinking all figure out a way to bind him. Little kids play, acting what it would be like to, to, to face this person, no other legends necessary, no Jersey devils or Sasquatches watches or other things needed in lore because I can hear him at night and he screaming and cutting himself with stones.
This is a man who holds his area hostage in fear. We do not know from the text if he harmed any person, but he was seen as such a threat. That they risked life and limb to try to shackle him, imagine what they did to get him into those chains that couldn’t hold him. Imagine a man, more powerful enough to break through chains.
What did it take to subdue him to get those chains on? You can only imagine the fear and energy that would take of this community to be preoccupied with this man. A couple of things here. This man we learned in the passage has a 2000 demons inside of him. The power of hell is tougher than the strongest amongst us.
Scripture does not teach that we are tougher than the attacks of Satan by ourselves. You might ask and you might say, Ooh, Satan, you know, doubly rude spirits. Like I’m, uh, I warm to the idea of God and in the sense of love and, and I’m in on Jesus and all those stories. But like, are you going to tell me like little horny, like horned Dean demons are running around, like trying to attack, um, trying to attack us and those kinds of things.
Well, in scripture it does speak of an enemy. An enemy that is not, uh, other people, but that there are spiritual attacks. And while we say God is personal, I believe so. Is darkness the longer I know Jesus, the deeper, I understand who he is. The more I’m convinced that there is one. Who hates God, an enemy of love.
And that enemy is not a vague darkness out there. It is an enemy with a name and a plan and the enemy that is exceedingly clever and opportunistic. And what we can see in scripture is simply this Satan hates you. I don’t know if you’ve ever been hated in your life. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling. But if you are God’s child, Satan hates you.
And it’s a reality that we can’t pretend is not there. He hates your father so much. That he wants your destruction. He wants the destruction in your homes. He wants to destructions in your outer life, in your inner life. He wants your confusion, your, and your fear. First, Peter five eight says this. Be alert.
And of sober mind, your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. And while we elevate the wonder of Christ, we need to be honest with the fact that our enemy is really scary.
Verse six. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran, fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice. What do you want with me? Jesus, son of the most high God in God’s name, don’t torture me for Jesus had said to him, come out of this man. You impure spirit. Now notice the verbs. I love the verbs of this passage.
The way that that Mark is using his action words, you, you can see this. And you can see the physical posture that’s happening in these birds. Okay. Verse three, he’s wrenching chains apart. He’s dicing his body and cutting himself with rocks. He’s running, he’s yelling among the Hills. He would not be submitted by any person or chain.
And now look at the burbs. He runs. Falls on his feet, on his knees in front and shout at the top of his voice in submission to God. And even his appeal is in God’s name, his name don’t torture me. He does this in the passage youth. This immediately. Speaking of this passion, Charles Spurgeon said, this dog of hell knows it’s master.
The powers of hell could go no further than they were allowed. They immediately submitted and begged for mercy against the God who has never lost a battle or a war to Satan that was not intended for a greater victory. Something else just interesting in this passage. And as you look in the new Testament conversations with demons or darkness are rather short.
It’s not a going back and forth and well, maybe you can hear it in like the conversations. And I think this is important for us as we deal with spiritual darkness, spend our time with the God who protects and make any conversation where you’re addressing hell being a short one, because there is no time or energy or strength to lose on the darkness.
Verse nine says this, then Jesus asked him, what is your name? My name is Legion. He replied for, we are many. And he begged again, this word begged Jesus again and again, not to send him out of this area. This is my jurisdiction. This is where I know how to get these feet. How I know to breed fear. This is how I, this is the place where I’ve become comfortable.
I’ve become comfortable in this principality to rule over these people. I know what I’m doing here. Don’t let me leave. If you go to the next slide of scripture and a large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside demons, begged Jesus, send us among the pigs, allow us to go into them. He gave them permission.
The impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd about 2000, a number rushed down the steep bank and into the Lake and were drowned. Now there’s a lot of spiritual stuff going on here. My question is do pink stampede, like what a pink stampede, like I watched lion King. I don’t want a, will the beast stampedes, like, okay.
That’s for real, but like a little pink stampede. I mean, that’s a little cute to me. I got it. Doesn’t seem that intense. And do pigs even do that. I mean, I sorta imagine pigs being like, uh, Right. Like you can go, I don’t care. Right. Run over me. Um, I’m due for bacon anyway. Like I can’t see it being that big of a deal.
So I looked it up and this is why we have the internet for questions like this. Pigs do stampede. And actually there was a case, a court case, um, in England because 2000 pigs stampeded. Similar to this, many of them ended up dead and it cause a great cost to farmers. And the question was what made the pig stampede?
And they went in the course, the court case took a long time and they were able to prove that a hot air balloon had like done its jet thing and two near the pigs. And it scared them. And eventually the hot air balloon company went out of business because they had to pay for the pigs and all that, this kind of stuff.
So pigs do stampede. And next question, you have deeply spiritually we’ll do pigs swim. Like can pigs do this little thing? Like I’m, I don’t know. Like, and you don’t know, they say fat floats more than strength is a lot of fat on those things. It turns out pigs can swim, but you need really good condition.
Okay. They’re not great swimmers, but some pig farmers say that pigs can infection them. Some people say it’s only a certain kind of pig, but apparently this kind of pig in these conditions with the stamp page, with the demon in their head, don’t swim, they did not do well. Next deep spiritual question.
What happens to all that bacon? You know what I mean? Like who cleans this up? I said a lot of pig. Right. And is that recoverable like, is that salting pork? Like, I don’t know. What do you do then? Like this community? So I’m like, well then how much money do they just lose on pig? Like, and then, and so I looked that up right now.
If you get a pig, you can buy a pig for 600 bucks. So that’s $1.2 million worth of pigs that just drown. Now was some of that recoverable that they could use for meat, et cetera. I don’t know that the internet stopped working for me at that point, but perhaps they could recover some of the money regardless.
This was not necessarily the miracle in the way that people wanted. Right? Yes. They want removal of this threat, but there was a cost. There was something that would be changed about them. Presumably there’s called talks about herdsmen that this may have not just been one herd of pigs, but maybe several, maybe several families impacted by this miracle miracle, the wha what, the miracle that they wanted, but not the way that they wanted.
Real interestingly here though is also a little nugget that we have. That’s more important than little piggy stories. Is this a demon could not even enter a pig without the permission of God. He will not let his people be bothered. Be persecuted, be harmed, be harassed. Without having something greater in mind, the powers of hell are great, but they can’t even enter swine without the permission of the almighty verse 14.
Those who were tending the pigs ran off and reported this to the town and countryside the people. Went out to see what happened when they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the Legion of demons, sitting there dressed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Cause again, follow the verbs in the story.
The man under the possession of hell is crying out, causing harm, wrenching change, uh, sleepless nights, causing other threats, running screaming, shouting, lots of begging there’s a misery and an exhaustion to bearing the weight of hell and notice this man with Jesus. Notice the verbs. He’s sitting, he’s dressed.
He is placed in his right mind. One of the coolest things to me about this passage is how present this man becomes in this story. This man who’s had a crazy past and undoubtedly, a very interesting future right here is simply dressed. He seated. There’s a calmness. There’s a difference in the way Marcus talking about him here versus the youth, this craze from before.
I think what were, what he could have been doing is filled with regret. Falling on his face and complete shame. I can’t face anyone or the things that I have been allowed to happen, or what could have been is, is he could have been filled with anxiety for the future. Like, dude, I’m the pig guy for forever, right?
Like, do I have to pay for those pigs? Do I have to pay for the harm I’ve caused? How could I ever live down the reputation of there’s the graveyard man, but what was he. Mark is describing him. So present, he’s just sitting there dressed and in his right mind, in that moment with his God, he was most himself.
He was most comfortable and most whole in his own skin. There is a sense that now after his rushing around and his crazed energy that has possessed him now, he is fully himself. The, when we truly are with God, when our lives are lived with God, there is a comfort about being in our own skin. We are most ourselves when we are with most of him, Luke four, uh, 18 and 19, Jesus talked about this kind of thing that this is why he came.
He says the spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to proclaim this good news to the poor. He sent me different claim, freedom for the prisoners. Why. Cause they’re meant to be free and recovery of sight for the blind. Why? Because eyes are supposed to see, to set the oppressed free. Why? Because there’s not supposed to be, Oh, oppression to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Jesus came to restore and to bring us back into what it is, the highest and holiest and most human of all living. Dallas Willard theologian that, uh, pastor Jerry and I are always quoting. Um, question was he asked this question? Yes. Someone, how would you describe Jesus now? Let me just say those kinds of questions are annoying because you can’t ever get it.
Right. Right. How are you gonna describe Jesus, son of God? Okay. Okay. Actually I think this right. He’s getting somewhere. So the person he was talking to a guy named bill, I think bill probably dodged the question. Okay. Dallas, how would you describe Jesus? Dallas Willard says this. I would describe Jesus in this word, relaxed, which is kind of a crazy word to me.
Now, does that fully describe every action of Jesus? No. But when you’re reading the gospels and taking and looking at what is the posture of how Jesus lived his everyday life, even in the midst of immediate youth, this ministry. The word relaxed has a very high amount of application. I was thinking about this, this, this, she has this compassionate unhurried presence about him.
I was thinking about the nativity scenes in regards to this right. Jesus and the kids, right. The kids come to Jesus and instead it was like, no, no, no, no, no, no. There is more important stuff here. We can have like a real miracle here. Let’s get these kids out of here. Like, and Jesus says, no, no, no, let them come.
Kingdom of God belongs to such as I’ll spend time with them. Then you go right in the naitivity to the boat scene and the boat scene. It’s all filled with youth. This we’re going to die. We’re out here, we’re going back and forth. We’re going to die on this boat. Where’s Jesus, he’s sleeping. I get that.
He’s God. But man, is that guy out of it sometimes, like how can he not realize what’s going on? And they finally wake him up and he says, be still. And he rebukes them for the lack of faith. Lazarus it come and come to Lazarus. And that’s when everyone’s God bless all of you acting, whoever acted in the Lazarus scene.
It is hard to cry that hard that often, but in the Lazarus scene, right? If you follow the text, what happens? Lazarus sister comes out and says, Oh, great. To have me in Jesus. If only you had been here two days ago, if only you would have gotten here fast enough, if only you would’ve gotten here, when we sent the messenger.
Right. If only you would have been a little more useless, a little more immediate, a little more urgent, and Jesus comes, calms their fears and raises the dead. Then he goes and receives a cross where Peter’s like, no, Oh, I got cut off in here. Somehow avoid this. Jesus says, no, this is to be received. Then you go to the resurrection scene.
Right. And what’s the deal with do not fear. Death, can’t beat him either. It’s going to be okay in the Ascension scene. Now he’s gone. What do we do? Angel comes don’t fear. He’ll be back. It’s going to be okay. There is a consistent unhurried presence about Christ in the gospels. And those with him that really are with him.
This man is one of them are able to be in the midst of what has happened in the past. What might happen in the future, simply dressed, seated in their right mind in a place that everything is okay. Verse 15 continues after it says they were afraid. Now the question is, well, why, why are they afraid? This is a good thing.
Well, I think great power always causes fear, and this is great power, right? I mean, there is a great sense of power. Jesus had done without a posse without chains, without mechanism, what they could not. And it caused them fear and gets to this very fascinating part of the passage in verse 16, those who had seen it, told the people what had happened to the demon possessed man and told them about the pigs as well.
Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. Jesus, this is a power, but we don’t want you here. There is. And again, the word is begging probably better translated. There’s a lot of begging in this passage and there, and Jesus, please be out. Jesus was too disruptive. They had learned to cope with their fear.
They had learned to deal with what was obsessing them and bothering them. They had learned they could live with this. Jesus was a threat to their sanity. They were trying to, they’re trying to keep their sanity as best they could by, by dealing and coping with this demon guy. But to give all up their mechanisms of control.
To have that great of a power here. No, they rather live with the devil. They knew than the Jesus that they didn’t know. Were they right? Were they right? See, Jesus has a threat. This Jesus who comes, who dresses, seats them and puts them in the right minds. Is this Christ coming as a threat? I would say in some ways, yes.
I think they were right too, too many to, to see him as a disruptive being to them to follow Jesus was a different way of life than they were used to. Many of the followers of Christ would give their ultimate and be killed. They would hear teaching these followers about what it would mean to take up their cross and follow him.
They would themselves be subject to potentially the hatred of the enemies of darkness by following him, we see Jesus does not play well with idols, the grace and wonder of Jesus calls his people to serve the kindness of this. Jesus will lead us to change and repentance. Jesus is a threat to the urgency.
Of the self life, self righteousness he taught, no, you’re not enough on your own, your ego and morality. Don’t cut it to self-sufficiency that you can’t do this life in your own strength to self-love. You’re not the highest thing that there is. To love and worship to self-promotion that, that addiction, we have to comparing ourselves to others to try to get ahead to self independence that this life is only about me or my family.
Jesus is a different way of living than that. And in that way, he is a threat. The kingdom is full of beauty. But you cannot enjoy the beauty of God and cling to the lavishness of false treasure. You may have heard this. There’s a way of catching monkeys is actually a YouTube of this. So, you know, it’s real there’s um, this type of gourd it’s called the Kala Bosch.
It’s a new Guinea and a collar Bosch kind of looks like a decapitated snowman. It’s like two humps. Okay. And, um, what they do is they hollow out. A little bit of the capita snowman, and then they put some food in the bottom, but they only put a little tiny hole. And actually when they drill the hole, you think like, I don’t think this is going to work when the monkey comes, the monkey goes and goes down and grabs the food in the Cala BOSH, Gord.
And it tries to pull its hand out, but now it has made a fist and because it’s made a fist, it now is bigger than the width of the hole. And so it cannot pull out the food. All the monkey needs to do is say, you know, this is not my day. Let go of the food. And the monkey is freed from bondage, but the monkey won’t let go.
It it’s something in its brain cannot can’t tell itself that that is even an option. And so they can catch monkeys. You can see them, even though it’s like go and it just holds on, holds on. And like they approached the monkey and he’s like trying to rip out of this gourd thing. Like, like it’s trapping him, but he’s trapping himself.
He can’t let go of the false treasure in order to be free. Verse 18 says this. This Jesus was getting in the boat. The man who has been demon possessed, begged again, a begging so much in this passage to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, go home to your own. People. Tell them how much the Lord has done for you, how he has had mercy on you.
So the man went way and began to tell in the Decapolis, this is a little bit lower on the tater tot. Um, how much Jesus had done for him. And the people were amazed. I love this. As Jesus getting boat, the man who had been zest begged to go with him, he’s not asking for something from Christ. He’s not not saying well now, can you make sure these people know it wasn’t my fault.
And can you teach them some things or can you get this, his desire? What he knows of when he is able to be dressy in his right mind? It was with him. It was with him. Rest comes not from a rival, but it comes from who is walking with you rest doesn’t come from, from being rid of Al outward urgency or Balogun.
It comes from living in inner life with the one who is unhurried with the one who is at risk. It’s so important. Yeah. Okay. I’ll just, I got, um, this wasn’t in my notes. I’m doing counseling right now. I do some counseling, but I’m also in counseling. Um, and I am receiving counseling and I’ve been processing a lot of different things with my therapist.
And is this okay to do? You’re all like, Whoa, awesome planning on this. Can he say therapist in the pulpit? Um, So, yes, I see a therapist and I can’t walk it back now. And, um, we were talking and he was, we were talking about processing some different things and it’s been meaningful for me, but it really came down to like him asking me, honestly, like, where are your practices with God?
And I’m like, I know God, I got the God thing. I even preach about him. Hello. Right. But he just, like, we just talked and I realized like, My practices have gotten dusty sloppy. Yes. I pray. Yes. Read the Bible, um, those things, but the sense of deep walking intentionally with God slipped and, you know, came a whole lot of urgency, whole lot of energy.
And I work pretty hard. I try to work really hard in my home to be a good dad and clean up and help out, try to do lot of stuff at the church out of urgency.
But how much was I really just spending time with God? And I realized a lot of my inner chaos siloed that outer chaos. To stop my time, my time to simply be my wife does this. She goes away and on silent retreats and just spends time with God. And you’re like, man, you can do a lot in those two days. She doesn’t.
And honestly, it’s been a lot through her walk with Jesus, her stillness and silence and presence with God that I realize. I’m letting the outer Balogun get in and I need to reprioritize. And simply in the passage, what’s the calling. How do we become dressed, seated in our right minds? How do we live centered lives?
It’s just with him. It’s living with him. The Christian life is not a destination. The Christian life is not fundamentally about getting to a nice place when we die. The Christian life is not even first a journey. It’s not just about the transformation of how we become different over time. Yes.
Destination. Beautiful. Yes. Journey. Beautiful. But the Christian life, the mentally is companionship. It’s an every day reality that we can live with God each day in each circumstance. And that we can be centered with him in the midst of everything else. If you would stand, I’m going to give you the benediction for this morning,
for those of you here in person. For those of you online this morning, just read this over you. May you on this day. And even in this moment, be filled with the rest that comes from your unhurried Christ. May you in the midst of potential past regret and future anxiety, be able to be simply present for his sufficient love.
Now. May we relax into accepting daily bread, which is only meant to get us through today that we may trust that tomorrow will come with its own. In short, may we live this moment and the next one, it comes with Jesus for wherever he is with us. We have. All we need wonderful to be with you this morning.
We are dismissed.