A big turnaround - 15 September 2021

By Ben Fourie

This account of a man with an evil spirit can be found in three of the Gospels, albeit with a few small differences. We, who are living 2 000 years later, do not really know and understand possession by evil spirits in the time of the Bible. What we do know is that this man was in need of urgent help and even more importantly, the reaction of Jesus when he met him. This person was not in touch with himself, his family or society. His condition had reached such a low point that he screamed and hurt himself with stones all the time.

Completely naked and homeless, he was not welcome among other people and all that was left for him was to live in the burial caves. This made him unclean in the eyes of the townspeople and so even more undesirable. They tried to imprison him, but not even the chains they used to bind him could keep him. What a tragic case one could say.

I wonder if any one of us would have been willing to try to manage him. To Jesus, nobody is too far gone not to be healed and changed. After the healing took place, the townspeople came out and were filled with wonder. Instead of the man who had an evil spirit, they found a completely normal person. He was wearing clothes and was fully in his right mind. So what did they do? One would have imagined that they would have invited Jesus and the healed man into the village, but instead they asked Jesus to leave.

When Jesus meets people, it had a profound impact on their lives. A possessed man was changed to the extent that he became a “missionary”, telling everyone what Jesus did for him. “Good” townspeople were so upset by what they had witnessed and probably also by the financial loss of their herd of pigs, that they wanted him out of their territory as soon as possible. How do we react when we encounter Jesus?

Prayer: LORD, help me to be ready when you want to do miracles in my life. Amen