Mark 5 Reflection by John B
Hot off the back of the calming of the storm, Jesus and the disciples scoot on over to the other side of the lake, where they're met by a demon-possessed, freakishly strong, self-harming, cemetery dwelling, mad man! In a nod back to chapter 1, we've got ourselves some straight up spiritual warfare here...and it's kinda weird.
Yes, we've got the testimony of the demons rightly identifying who Jesus is (thanks for making it nice and clear to us), but rather than a quick and clean 'Out you go', there seems to be a bit more of a dialogue and in v. 7 we have the man saying to Jesus "...I command you in God's name not to torture me!" A demon possessed guy, commanding Jesus, in God's name...WHAAAAT!?!? Even in the midst of an undeniably strong demonic strong hold that Jesus is going to liberate, through some next level spiritual warfare, there seems to be an understanding and recognition of Jesus' authority, bestowed on him by God. That understanding and revelation meant the demons knew the power dynamics here, and that it was game over for them, reducing them to begging. I'd love to KNOW that clarity of revelation, and to see in practice the reality of God's authority, bestowed upon us, liberating ANY demonic strongholds in our community. What's also interesting is the reaction of that community. This societal menace...outcast...lost cause, delivered back in to his right mind, and the community freak out about the pigs and beg Jesus to leave. God's kingdom coming was too unsettling for them. Props to this guy being a boss evangelist back in the Ten Towns though when Jesus said he couldn't leave with him.
Quick nip back over the lake and WHAM - here's the crowds again. Jairus is on his knees begging Jesus to heal his dying daughter. Unsurprisingly, Jesus is game. But even on the way there, he's hijacked by a desperate and faithful woman who knows that, where worldly wisdom has exploited her and left her wanting, Jesus will restore her, in so many ways. What a head-spinning time for the disciples; there's so much going on. And even when you think you know what the plan is, to heal a dying girl (amazing enough in itself), Jesus is then asking you who, in the mass of the crowds, has touched him? This got me wondering how often I minimise God's kingdom in to the well intentioned plans I can get my head around, and would ignore or struggle to deal with the kingdom interruptions that could bring life, but would disrupt and disturb my handle on existence?
Anyway, spoiler alert, Jesus does heal Jairus' daughter (no thanks to the mocking mourners), and I love this little model of Jesus' discipleship in how it goes down. Jesus selecting three of the apostles to be with him in this, experiencing it with him, learning from him, being built up and taught through it.
This chimes so well with a challenge we have been recognising with Eden, about how we're developing our young people and increasing their sense of ownership and empowerment. Here Jesus is giving us this hint that we’re on the right track, let's not shy away from it!
Let the adventure continue!