I have been stuck for some time now on the story of the man at the Gadarenes. You can read about this man in Mark 5 and Luke 8. The Bible says that this man was demon possessed and even goes as far as to say that no chain could hold him. He gets so bad that he finds himself in the tombs on the other side of the sea of Galilee. When Jesus finds him the Bible says that he is naked and cutting himself with rocks. This is a fascinating story to me and there are a few things specifically that I would like to show you about this passage.
1. Your Dysfunction Does not Disqualify you.
We may not be able to agree on every theological point in this passage but one thing we can be sure of, this man may be more dysfunctional than anyone you know. The Bible says that he could not be held by any chain, he was naked, and he is cutting himself with rocks. The Bible also later tells us that he is filled with a legion of demons which scholars agree totals at least 6,000 demons. You may know someone that might have a demon or two in their life but I doubt you know someone with a legion.
I love how Jesus sets Himself up here. He picks the most difficult, most dysfunctional person on the planet and finds him. If you pay attention to the Gospel, Jesus is attracted to dysfunctional people. This should be so encouraging to you. I don’t care how dysfunctional you may feel at times, this does not disqualify you from encountering the Lord. In fact, it might just improve your chances! Maybe you are at a point in life where nothing you try works. You’ve tried every chain you can find to fix your problem but you haven’t been able to be bound by any of them. Jesus may just be on a boat on His way to your side of the sea!
“So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” – John 8:36
2. Your Distance Does not Disdain you.
The Bible says that the man is on the other side of the sea. He was so far away from the Lord! Jesus is on the other side preaching the Gospel and performing miracles but this man is stuck on the other side. I wonder if any of you are feeling this way. You are watching person after person get breakthrough. Everybody around you is getting blessed but your stuck on the wrong side of the sea. Don’t worry, He is not bothered by this. I want to encourage you, Jesus knows how to get to your side of the sea!
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners” – Isaiah 61:1
3. Their Betrayal sets up Your Breakthrough.
This man must’ve had friends and family before all of this happened to him. Is it not interesting that none of them cared about him enough to help him? As we have already discussed, he ends up on the complete opposite side of the sea of Galilee and no one thinks to go help him? There is no doubt that they had heard of the many miracles Jesus had performed. He had even performed some miracles in their own town! All of this is happening and no one thinks to go get the man and bring him to Jesus? No, they don’t. Why? I believe it is because they were too selfish. It would be way too inconvenient for them to go all the way to the other side to get their friend. Plus, he would be a little high maintenance with this whole legion of demons thing he’s got going on. To me, this is nothing short of betrayal. They forget about their friend in the moment that he needed them the most. This actually works out for the better for the man because now he gets to meet Jesus one-on-one. Better yet, all the people that were too concerned about themselves to help him have to come and find him clothed, in his right mind, and sitting at the feet of Jesus.
Some of you have been betrayed. You’ve been hurt and forgotten about in times that you needed help the most. Maybe you feel your closest friends left you to die while they were too concerned with themselves. Let this story encourage you. Their betrayal may have just set you up for your greatest encounter!
“Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” – 2 Corinthians 3:17
I’m thankful that in my darkest moments, Jesus was willing to come to my side of the sea and set me free. I wonder if there is anyone else that will join me in thanking Him tonight. I was once the man who could be held by no chain. I was naked and on the wrong side of the sea, but Jesus found me right where I was. In all of my dysfunction and shame and He set me free. Hallelujah!