It’s Like a Scene from Your Worst Nightmare

Mark 5:1-20 (focus verses:  1-2, 7-8)

Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.  And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.

 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”  For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”

Freaky things happen around the water, don’t they?  I remember one day when my brother and his friend were checking turtle lines on Pickerel Creek, a small river in northern Ohio.  They put their johnboat bow-first into the creek bank.  Ed’s friend stepped out onto the shoreline and exactly at that time a large water snake slithered into the boat.  I can’t explain how the fierce serpent (as it appeared at the time) got into the boat the way it did.  I also can’t explain how my brother, sitting at the stern, managed to be standing dry on dry land an instant later.  It was an out-of-boat experience, a phenomenon not easily duplicated unless you have a giant sea creature advancing toward you at breakneck speed.

Jesus spent a great amount of time on the Sea of Galilee, crossing it several times.  Having just calmed a raging storm, He and His disciples came to the other side of the sea, that is, the southeast shore.  The Bible says that immediately He was confronted by a demon-possessed man.

Imagine this scene:  Here you are, a disciple who just witnessed Jesus’ powerful command over the stormy sea.  You’ve just said to your bewildered friends, “Who is this, that even the wind and sea obey Him?”  Already afraid of the storm, you are now exceedingly fearful (Mark 4:41).  The boat puts to shore, Jesus steps out, and suddenly a wild man jumps up from among some old tombs.  It’s like a scene from your worst nightmare.  Now you’re petrified.  That wild man is perhaps the most dangerous, powerful, evil person in the world at this time.  If that thing gets into the boat, you’ve had it!

But Jesus is standing there.  As the story goes, the legion of demons is permitted to enter a herd of hogs which promptly jumps off a cliff and drowns in the sea.  The man is saved because no evil thing or power in the universe can stand against the Son of the Most High God.  And these evil spirits knew it.

While still sorting through your emotions and faith, you look at the sea in disbelief.  In an area the size of a football field, 2,000 pig carcasses slosh around in one big flotilla of pork bellies.  TWO THOUSAND!  You look back at the wild man.  He is calm, clothed, and Christian.  Jesus is telling him that he can’t come into the boat but that he must go home to his friends and tell them what great things the Lord has done for him (Mark 5:19).  By now, you are speechless.

If the wild man had gotten by Jesus, what would you have done?  Jump ship?  Fight?  Pass out?  Thankfully, there’s no need to think about that question.  Jesus Christ stood in the way.  You were safe.

There are times when things seem desperate and hopeless.  Jesus is standing there.  There are times when things seem bleak and dangerous.  Jesus is standing there.  There are times when things seem unbelievable and astounding.  Jesus is standing there.

As we stand in awe of the power of Jesus, we have the assurance that when we rest in Him, wicked things will not get into the boat with us.  Our part is to sort through our faith and completely rely on Jesus for His protection as He works in us His will for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13).

 

  1. What verse of Scripture got your attention, from Mark 5:1-20?

 

  1. Describe your most frightening experience.

 

  1. From the lesson: But Jesus was standing there.  The legion of demons was permitted to enter a herd of hogs which promptly jumped off a cliff and drowned in the sea.  The man was saved because no evil thing or power in the universe can stand against the Son of the Most High God…  …There are times when things seem desperate and hopeless.  Jesus is standing there.  There are times when things seem bleak and dangerous.  Jesus is standing there.  There are times when things seem unbelievable and astounding.  Jesus is standing there.
  • What concerns you most in your daily living for Christ? How does Jesus help calm your fears when a problem seems hopeless?
  • How can you help children, teenagers, or other adults to be calm in the face of frightening life situations (illness, accidents, crime, etc.)?
  1. Take a few minutes to consider how to apply this Bible study. Reflect on your own experiences.

Key words:  fear, calm, problems, obedience, telling others