Tolerating demons

When I began Lent I had in mind a practice I read in Esau McCaulley’s new book, Lent. I was going to go through the New Testament books that weren’t the Gospels or Paul’s writings. I would start in Acts and move through and end up in Revelation. Once I opened my Bible to try that while I was in Galilee on our trip to Israel, I realized, “WHAT AM I DOING?” I opened to Matthew and began reading.

I am now in Mark and come to Mark 5 and it’s been over a week since we returned from Israel. But those pictures come alive. The region of the Gerasenes. The tombs. The hills.

There is the stunning memory of capturing sunset in Galilee from the eastern side of the lake.

And as we are standing there admiring the sunset, our guide reminds us of the story of the demoniac in Mark 5. She pointed over to some caves that may have been tombs.

I looked across the grassy area to an outcropping and saw the caves.

The demoniac was haunting some tombs in his day. The cliff overlooking the lake… All of it comes flashing back to my mind as I read this text.

What I can’t capture in a picture is the reaction of the region. Their livelihood had just plunged over the cliff. The man responsible for it is standing there, but so is the crazy man they had tolerated for so long. Only now, the crazy guy seems to be sane.

Instead of rejoicing, they ask Jesus to leave. Their material livelihood had been lost, Jesus seemed responsible, so they wanted him out.

What is it about us that will tolerate a lot of human pain as long as we’re materially well?

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