Scripture Reading for Saturday, March 22
Reading: Mark 5:1-20
The disciples and Jesus had just come ashore after a harrowing ride across the sea of Galilee. Jesus had stopped the wind and rain only for them to arrive at a place of the dead, the home of a man so crazed and demon possessed that chains and shackles could not hold him. This must have been one of the oddest of days (or couple of days) for the disciples. Jesus had saved them from the storm only to bring them into a devils den.
Certainly no one could have predicted what happened next as the league of demons living inside this unfortunate man asked to be allowed to move into a herd of pigs; a herd which then immediately ran themselves down the slopes and into the sea, drowning themselves. Whenever Jesus deals with the demonic realm those of us who have grown up in the West (America, Europe, etc.) probably cringe a little. This cringe is because we lack a cultural connection to the text. While certainly we understanding the concept of the demonic it is almost always something relegated to fiction, or the realm of mental illness.
In the West we have largely sought to turn evil into an unfortunate but understandable outcome of environmental factors like violence in the home, or the effects of war on the human mind. We have turned evil into a medical and mental diagnosis because it makes it easier to label and allows us to distance ourselves from anything suggested to be 'evil' in our own lives. We don't want to accept that within us, and within our world, there is real evil. An evil that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.
Jesus came to be a light in the darkness. The light of Christ shows evil for what it is; however it is that same light that provides us with the ability to see our need for God and turn to him.
Questions for Reflection or Journaling
- Do you dismiss any thought of the reality of evil spiritual forces out of hand? Why?
- When the light of Jesus is shone on your life what does it highlight that you would rather keep hidden?
Father in heaven, protect us from Satan, our accuser and adversary. Guide us into your light which exposes and heals our own evil desires. Give us today the strength to turn to you in our time of trial.