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The Maniac of Gadora

July 8, 2022

Faith Filled Friday | July 8, 2022

by Nancy Chapman

So much can be learned from Bible characters. Like us, they had their ups and downs, good times and bad, successes and failures. I can often see myself in them because, after all, human nature never changes. They had hopes and ambitions, disappointments and joys just as we do. I especially like reading about the men and women in the Gospels who had encounters with Jesus Christ. One of my favorites is the maniac of Gadara in Mark 5:1-20.

I believe the story actually begins in Mark 4:35. It was evening and Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us pass over tot he other side.” He referred to crossing the Sea of Galilee by boat. As soon as they got I the boat, Jesus lay down in the “hinder part of the ship.” He put his head on a pillow and immediately fell into a deep sleep. As a man, he was exhausted from dealing with the constant press of crowds wherever he went, and he often spent the night in prayer. Rest and sleep were in short supply.

The Sea of Galilee was a beautiful lake about seven miles across. Unfortunately because of the mountains around it, storms could come up very quickly. And that’s what happened to the disciples. Suddenly, the sky grew dark, the wind started whipping around the boat, and the waves got higher and higher. Their little boat was slammed by the waves and water poured over the sides into the boat.

“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship so that it was now full.” When the Bible says it was a great storm, we can be sure it was! Fear gripped the hearts of the disciples as they tried desperately to bail out the water and row to shore. But it was not to be. The wind and waves only got worse and they were convinced they would perish.

Then it dawned on them, “Jesus is in the boat!” They shook him, crying out, “Master, carest Thou not that we perish?” Of course, he cared and they could not perish anyway because the Lord still have big plans for their lives. Jesus did not come to die in a storm on the lake! He would die, but not until Calvary, the appointed place and time where he would become our Substitute.

“Then Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, “Peace, be still. And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.” Jesus was more than a match for the wind and raging waves! Then he rebuked them for their lack of faith. Awed by the power of their Master, they said one to another, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” The answer is that, thought Jesus was totally MAN, he was also totally GOD; the one and only unique GOD-MAN. When he said, “Let us pass over to the other side, they would go over to the other side!

We all encounter storms in our lives: physical storms, financial storms, and family storms are only a few. As long as we are in this world, there will be storms of one kind or another. It is easy to be like the frightened disciples and forget the Lord is on board, and that nothing can happen that he does not allow. Faith sometimes falters when we have no idea what the Lord is doing and can’t see a way out. When we face storms, we need to remember nothing takes God by surprise. He knows all there is to know about everything, even before it happens. Furthermore, nothing is beyond His power to conquer. If he chooses, he can speak and bring great calm to our lives. Our storms are not haphazard situations but rather, as was the case with the disciples, they are designed for a specific purpose. The disciples saw in that storm what they never could have seen without it. Read Romans 8:28-29 and see that God also has a purpose for our storms.

Mark 5:1-2 begins: “And they came tot he other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.”

Jesus had a divine appointment with that poor, tormented man. The man’s description is heartbreaking. He “had his dwelling among the tombs, and no man could bind him, no, not with chains. Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces, neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying and cutting himself with stones.” -Mark 5:3-5

Things were about to change! “But when he saw Jesus AFAR OFF, he ran and worshiped him.” When Jesus was “afar off” wouldn’t he have been on the lake in the storm? Had the man watched the GREAT storm from the mountain and saw Jesus bring a GREAT calm? Perhaps, ind ays gone by before he was possessed by demons, he had heard of Jesus’ miracles and compassion. Could he have know Jesus that Jesus healed many who were demon possessed? Read Matthew 8:16-17. It really does not matter how he knew, but he knew the man getting out of the boat was his only hope. With only one purpose he ran, stumbling down the mountain to get to Jesus.

Mark 5:8-13 tells us that Jesus commanded the demons to come out of the man and they obeyed. It’s quite a story and well worth reading. The change in the man was immediate. When the men came out of the city in response to what the keepers of the swine told them, what a sight they saw! There, before them, was the man sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. (verses 14-15)

The man begged Jesus to let him go with him, but Jesus said, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and had compassion on thee.” -Mark 5:19

That is exactly what he did. Can you imagine the reaction of his friends! Imagine the look on their faces when they recognized the demon possessed man – no longer demon possessed – and heard his

story of the miracle that happened. He stood before them: calm, sane, and praising Jesus Christ. Proof positive of the power of the Son of God.

The power and compassion of Jesus is just as available today as it was in this story. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” -Hebrews 13:8

“I am the LORD, I change not.” -Malachi 3:6

James declares that with Jesus there is “no shadow of turning” in James 1:17.

Simply meaning, no matter how you are bound by the chains of Satan, sin and darkness, there is hope! If you, like the man of Gadara, will run to Jesus, He is able to deliver you. Your life can – and will – be changed! Maybe you have tried everything, but with no lasting results. Go to the right place, or rather to the RIGHT PERSON and your life will never the same.

Take time to read Mark 4:35 through Mark 5:1-20. That story is there for a reason. I pray you will let it speak to your heart.

Note: Nancy Chapman is the wife of Pastor Joe Chapman, who was the preacher at my church until he retired many years ago. They are both dedicated Christians.

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