Interruptions of the Favorable Kind
So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. 4 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. 5 Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.
6 When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. 7 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!” 8 For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.” – Mark 5:1-8
[See the remainder of Mark 5:1-17 below]
Right in the middle of your presentation ZOOM goes down. You get one bill paid off and suddenly the refrigerator goes out. You manage to get settled in for a quiet Sunday afternoon when your kids decide to have an impromptu wrestling match. Just when you’ve got the office organized a coworker gets transferred. Seldom are interruptions anticipated or welcomed.
Jesus knows all about interruptions. He finishes a day of teaching and healing and heads over to the other side of the lake. In the middle of his trip he takes a nap, only to be awakened by his worried disciples in the midst of a raging storm. Then he lands only to be interrupted by this demon-possessed man.
Look a little closer as this scene unfolds. The man who is demon-possessed is caught in a miserable existence. He cannot be constrained – even by chains. He cuts himself. He lives among the tombs. And Jesus interrupts is – in spite of the opposite appearance of things. It appears that he is interrupting Jesus, but it will prove to be an interruption to the demons’ mischief and mayhem.
For now we see Jesus interrupted, the shrieking fear of the demons. But Jesus is interrupting the demons’ tyranny. Jesus’ is dedicated to interrupting the rule and reign of Satan in all his realms. That’s an interruption of a favorable kind.
Evil did not consider this to be a good thing. Shrieks reveal their distress at this encounter. This will not go well for them. But it will go very well for this man. That might be a good thing to remember the next time we are interrupted.
9 Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”
And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” 10 Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place.
11 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. 12 “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.”
13 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.
14 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. 15 A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. 16 Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. 17 And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone. – Mark 5:9-17