On the Bubble

The evil spirits begged Jesus 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 5:10-17

Sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico | Galveston, Texas | August 2020

Have you ever been on the bubble? Pass/fail? In/out? On the team/cut? Financially solvent/bankrupt? I have. In our earliest years of marriage, Diane and I counted our change – including our pennies – all $4.17 of it. Then there was Greek. I had to pass the final in order to continue my seminary studies. If I failed, I would not be able to go on. I was on the bubble. You get the idea. 

Few people in this encounter are on the bubble. The demon-possessed man wasn’t on the bubble. Prior to Jesus’ intervention he was completely cut off. Uncontrollable. Dangerous. Possessed. Until Jesus intervenes. Then he is fully freed. Restored. No longer needing to be restrained. In his right mind. Sane. At peace with man and God.

The demons are not on the bubble either. But their fate is far worse for it. They are released from the man only to be sent into the pigs. Even though they begged to be sent into the pigs, it was not a good choice. They rush over the edge of the cliff and drown in the sea.

Sadly, the people of the nearby village are not on the bubble either. They want to get rid of Jesus. They see the man in his right mind. They hear about the demons and the pigs. And all they can think about is the pigs – a source of income perhaps. But in any event more important to them than a man who had been tormented now released from his misery. Pigs more important to them than a man. No bubble for them either. 

Where is your bubble? What is more important to you: pigs or people? Jesus or rebellion? Faith or sight? Being on the bubble is dangerous. Elijah once asked, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him. But if Baal, follow him.” 

If you’re not clear that money, safety, personal preference are a poor substitutes for the True God, you will end up on a bubble that will ultimately burst in ignominy and doom. 

Jesus and his disciples 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 the tombs to meet him. This man lived in 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.” 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 5:1-17

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