“Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.” Mark 5:16-17
I’m sorry… what? They pleaded with Jesus to leave? That seems in such contrast to previous accounts where Jesus had to escape to places outside the city to get away from the mob of people that were hoping to touch just the hem of His robe. I personally would have thrown my doors wide and pleaded with Him to come in. But at the same time, it’s human nature to be scared of things we don’t understand—things that make us question our reality.
In college, I was an art major at Cal Poly Pomona. Though I had always attended public school, I had, as a whole, lived a fairly sheltered life. One of my major’s required classes was Art History, and it became clear early on that my professor did not hold my same tenets of Christian belief (shocking, I know). It was from him that I first heard about the Epic of Gilgamesh and it was his own personal opinion (though he stated it as fact) that the Hebrews had taken their account of the flood from this tale. My world was rocked. What did he mean that the Hebrews had borrowed from another culture’s mythology? This was the Bible we were talking about—the first and original, God’s own word. In truth, I wanted to run out of that class and never go back. This professor had effectively taken a sledgehammer to my reality and it scared me to death.
But then—I had a thought. (I’d like to think it was a divine thought, though it was certainly a grounding one.) It went like this:
Maybe the fact that other cultures had their own flood stories, pointed to the validity of the flood. And maybe the fragments of the Gilgamesh account predate Genesis because the Biblical account was preserved as an oral tradition until the time Moses penned Genesis.. (You can find more information on this subject from The Institute for Creation Research here: https://www.icr.org/article/noah-flood-gilgamesh/)
The revelation of the dark was not something I needed to fear, but something I needed to fight. That is, after all, why we’re told by Paul to put on armor.
Occasionally in Jesus’ ministry, as we read here in Mark, he revealed and rebuked demons and dark forces. Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians,
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against…the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6;12
That is a scary thought and one that would certainly shake a reality founded in the physical world. Even for those of us who acknowledge a spiritual realm, imagine seeing an actual exorcism!. No thank you. But we need not turn in fear, or flee from the One who has revealed these things. Jesus may have revealed these spiritual forces of evil, but He also overcame them! The man whom Jesus had healed recognized that. We go on to read in Mark 5:18,
“…the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with Him.”
So, too, should we beg to follow Jesus! Though dark and scary things may sometimes be revealed, He always gives us the tools and truth to combat and overcome.
“I write to you…because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” 1 John 2:14b
by Siara Borning