In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
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6 When he saw Jesus from far away, he ran and knelt before him, 7 shouting, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!”
8 He said this because Jesus had already commanded him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”
9 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
He responded, “Legion is my name, because we are many.” 10 They pleaded with Jesus not to send them out of that region.
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the hillside. 12 “Send us into the pigs!” they begged. “Let us go into the pigs!” 13 Jesus gave them permission, so the unclean spirits left the man and went into the pigs. Then the herd of about two thousand pigs rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned.
Some world religions picture good and evil as equally strong, forever vying for power. Even some Christians become fixated on demonic forces, which they see as terribly strong. The gospels always said that evil spirits cowered before Jesus’ power. The gospel writers were sure the battle between good and evil was utterly one-sided. “Legion: a Roman military term for a group of about 6,000 soldiers. Jesus may be outnumbered, but he easily takes command of his opponent(s).” *
Lord Jesus, in the end, you healed the evil in our world by allowing the Roman legions to do their worst to you. Send your healing, and your sacrificial spirit, into my heart. Amen.
[During a sermon series on “The Gospel in Disney,” the GPS studied today’s passage. Randy drew from the Disney film to share these valuable insights:]
When most people looked at the Beast, they saw an object of fear. In their minds, the monster was violent, inhuman; instead of a person, they saw a horrific creature, larger than life and worth less than life.
In Beauty and the Beast, another man stands in stark contrast. Gaston was the town hero, attractive and muscular and brave and bold. Yet both of these characters, deep inside, were human. Both had souls, both had hearts. Both felt anger and humiliation and fear. Both loved, and both hated. Both made mistakes. Both deserved grace.
As I think about the way I view people, I find that I tend to lump people into one of these two personas: the Beast or Gaston. I think of them as awful, despicable creatures without a shred of decency, or I elevate them to a position of god-like influence in my life. Even though I know they’re human, it is much easier for me to fit them into one of these tidy boxes. If I can see a person as a Beast, I can discount everything they say as monstrous; if I can see them as a Gaston, I can hang on their every word.
But by putting people in either of these roles, I strip them of their humanity. People are complex, with unique situations and motivations. By categorizing them, I turn them into objects I can understand without having to work to understand their complexities.
In the story in Mark, Jesus showed us a different way to see people. He looked at the creature, the man overcome by insanity, and saw the humanity within him. Jesus saw the man–not an object of fear–and treated him as human.
The more I study Scripture, the more I think that one of the gravest sins we can commit is the objectification of our brothers and sisters, who bear within them the very image of God.
* Suzanne Watts Henderson, study note on Mark 5:9 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 75 NT.
** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of Mark, (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 119.