He was out of his mind crazy! You know the scene; You know of that person who is not just different, but certifiable. They talk to themselves and give answers. Their demeanor, if not their words say, “Stay away!” You and I both have seen them and maybe interacted with them. I once watched as a lady tried to give a Subway sandwich to another lady sitting on the side of the road. This apparently homeless lady had what looked like all of her belongings in shopping cart and multiple layers of clothes on, even in the lae Alabama Summer. I was glad to see someone stopping to help. Then something happened I did not expect. The lady she was trying to help became all but violent. She screamed, she swung her arms, she grabbed the sandwich and tossed it back at her would be benefactor.
He was so out of control that the town banished him. They even took him to the graveyard and chained him way out in the back. He kept breaking the chains, chasing off the mourners, causing injury to others and to himself. People tried to give him clothes, but he would tear them off. Can you imagine the scene in Mark 5 when Jesus and His disciples cross the formerly stormy but now calmed sea and come to shore near the tombs. This man comes running out of the caves, appearing out of the darkness screaming, flailing his arms, if he is not running on all fours like a primate. The remains of a chain drag behind him. His hair is like that of a mangy dog, he is covered in dirt, he is naked and bruised. There are fresh cuts on his body along with dried blood from previous self-inflicted wounds. Mark describes Jesus’ encounter,
And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” (Mar 5:6-9)
He is more than crazy – he is possessed by many demons.
Jesus commands the demons to leave the man and enter a 2,000 member herd of pigs. The possessed pigs drown themselves in the sea. When the people from the town arrive to check on the commotion Mark records, “And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, . . .”(Mark 5:15)
Sitting . . . clothed and in his right mind!
This man who was in turmoil is now at peace. His encounter with Jesus changed his demeanor. Jesus had just calmed the raging Sea of Galilee and now he calms a life stormed by turmoil. When the storms of our life increase, Christ continues to provide peace.
When the storms of our life increase, Christ continues to provide peace.
How can we have peace because of Christ today? I will let the imprisoned Apostle Paul answer that (Philippians 4:4-13),
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
In this I see six keys to learning peace from God in Christ:
- Rejoice in the Lord, always. Look to Whom all good things come and rejoice in all that the Lord does and has done for you.
- Turn your anxiety over to God through prayer of faith. God is there to carry you through your hardships. He is there to lean on in times of grief and trouble. But only if you let Him. Let Him!
- Be thankful for what God provides. An attitude of gratitude changes our perspective and leads us to peace.
- Think, meditate, dwell on things that are worthy of praise. When I focus on my problems, doubts, fears, and things that are negative they wear me down. When I focus on truth, honor, justice, purity, etc. my energy and attitude change for the better.
- Learn contentment. Turmoil often grows from dissatisfaction. Peace grows from contentment. Paul learned contentment in all aspects of life.
- Rely on God’s strength in Christ.
I pray you find and live in the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.