This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. Mark 5, verses 3-5.
Does sin bind us the way this man was bound?
The man from the tombs was troubled. He had the ‘Legion’ of demons tormenting him from the inside-out. He couldn’t live in a town; he couldn’t live in a house. The man didn’t have a job, couldn’t be trusted around other people, and was both terrified and terrifying all the time to everyone who met him. His strength was enormous, like a miniature Hulk; strong enough that iron chains couldn’t hold him. He physically mutilated himself because of his condition, and his cries and anguish were real and loud and unnerving. This all happened because of the evil inhabiting him.
And yet this man probably went on to do great things in the name of Jesus. This past Sunday, my pastor reminded the congregation that, after this episode in Mark 5, Jesus and the disciples later returned to the region of the Gerasenes. Where before there had been a community of anxious, frightened pagans, there was now a group of Jesus-following believers. Nobody knows how that happened, yet, it seems likely it happened because of the testimony this man from the tombs soon shared with his townsmen.
Can you believe that? And it happened even though he had formerly been possessed by thousands of demon angels? We can’t noodle that supernatural thing; it’s beyond our ‘modern’ understanding. Yet the condition of the man isn’t beyond us because it’s the same one that plagues you and me today. We are bound by our sins. If we let it happen, we can be defined by them. We pay the earthly penalties and consequences for our wrongs, and if we refuse to believe in Jesus we will pay an eternal one when He removes His love from our lives.
Don’t believe me? Ever got a speeding ticket? That’s a legal infraction; because we break even earthly just law, we sin. Accordingly, there is the fine, the insurance points, maybe even court actions or the loss of driving privilege. All of that happens because we exceed a defined limit. It’s no different with other sins. Ever have an affair? Guilt, destruction, pain, division, anger, and hurt are all that ever result. Ever murder someone (or harbor a grudge)? How does that make you feel inside? The list goes on and on whether we follow Jesus or not. Even those who do not acknowledge these wrongs as “sin” can understand the negative consequences of them; even they can understand how our wrongs can bind us. Shouldn’t we believers acknowledge it more?
How much more amazing it is, then, to discover how Jesus frees us from this. We’ll learn about it tomorrow.
Jesus, I believe You and only You can free me from my sin, from the heart-pain that has resulted from it and my actions. I pray now for Your comfort and reminder yet again.
Read Mark 5, verses 1-20.