Seeing and Believe
Father God, You are my guiding light. You accompany me with Your presence and illumine Your Word by Your Spirit.
Read Mark 5:1-20
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Wherever humans are in pain today, the gentle healing message of Jesus needs to be applied, identifying with those in pain to bring God’s healing where it is needed” (N.T. Wright). What a great challenge!
Living in a parsonage, we sometimes have extremely needy people coming to the door requiring help. A few nights ago one such person arrived at our door who, I suspect, has mental health problems. To be honest, on this occasion I was slightly frightened by him.
The man in today’s reading must have been very frightening, and given the description of his behavior (3-5) was probably well known in the vicinity. Then when Jesus comes, note what happens (2,6-8). The demons instantly recognize who Jesus is (7). This is something we see throughout the Gospels. The crowds, and even the disciples, struggle to understand who Jesus really is, but when Jesus is confronted by a demon, there is always an acknowledgement of who he is (e.g. Mark 1:24; 3:11; Luke 4:34). The demons know by whom they are confronted, and know Jesus’ authority over them. Thus, in this story they ask his permission (12) to enter the pigs, with the resulting rush to the lake. Can you imagine what that must have been like? The outcome is the transformation of this man (15), but the people’s reaction remains one of fear (17). The people were fearful of the man before he was healed, but now they are afraid of the one who transformed him. The people are more concerned about the pigs than the change in the man. Even this most powerful miracle does not lead to faith. Seeing does not necessarily lead to believing.
Is that true of our world today? People often demand that God show himself in power, but when that happens, they may turn away in fear, instead of worshiping. Perhaps, given this account, that should not surprise us. The challenge for us today is, even without seeing, do we truly believe (John 20:29)?
Pray for those you know who struggle to believe because they want to “see.” Pray that they will have the courage to believe.
Living Lord, enable me to discern Your hand in the circumstances of my life. As I see evidence of Your presence, may it strengthen my belief and draw me to worship.
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