Daily Reflection – 1/30/2023
Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea, to the territory of the Gerasenes. When he got out of the boat, at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain, In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before him, crying out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!” (He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!” He asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.” And he pleaded earnestly with him not to drive them away from that territory. Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside. And they pleaded with him, “Send us into the swine. Let us enter them. And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they were drowned. The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town and throughout the countryside. And people came out to see what had happened. As they approached Jesus, they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion, sitting there clothed and in his right mind. And they were seized with fear. Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened to the possessed man and to the swine Then they began to beg him to leave their district. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead, “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed. (Mark 5: 1-20)
Jesus came to the Gerasenes in love. He came to heal, to save, to liberate. As he gets out of the boat, he is confronted by a shackled man, possessed by demons. The only way the citizens knew what to do with him was to keep him shackled and imprisoned in himself. He was more restricted and isolated because of it and rather than offer help, they drove him further into his dilemma.
The man cries out a refrain we hear around us often: “Why did God do this?’ We hear that refrain because it’s easier to affix the blame elsewhere
Each of us is shackled to one degree or another. Some less, some more. Some were placed on us in our childhood, and we never let them go. Some were placed on us by ourselves arising from situations where we felt we did not “live up.” Some were placed on us by the cruelty of another. Some were placed on us by society such as systemic racism. Some were placed on us by religion when we felt we were “unworthy” of God’s love.
The links grow stronger the more they are in place. The weight gets heavier the older we grow. The more binding they become, the more embittered we grow. That bitterness leads us to lash out at others, at events, at our physical suffering. It becomes a permanent fetter on our ability to love freely.
Yet, the ability to break free is so very close.
It begins with acknowledging that we will no longer allow our lives to be darkened. To peer at those shackles and understand how much of their weight we created ourselves and the need to break free of their confinement. Then to understand that if they are societal shackles, we will not allow them to weigh us down. To claim our right to be the person He created us to be.
Determined to be freed, determined to recover, we turn to a doctor . . . in this case, the divine doctor.
We need to ask for the love of Jesus Christ to come to our aid.
You see if we truly love God. If we truly believe that we are created by Him and that our very existence has meaning, we can’t allow shackles to bind us. We find our way to free ourselves of those shackles by focusing on the gift of His love.
Pause, for a moment and gaze upon a cross. As you do, remember and take into your heart the fact that the gift of the cross was for you.
The very Son of God gave his human body to be beaten, tortured, and given up so that you would be freed not shackled.
It really is that simple. We must always seek the light and live in His light. That is where He intended us to be.
The liberating word from Christ is when one hears for the first time that, no matter how heavy the shackle, you are worthy of being loved.
The words of the hymn come to mind: ““Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, O Lamb of God, I come.”
Worthy of being loved first and then accepting His love is the ultimate liberation from our shackles.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, unbind me that I may love you wholly and walk in the freedom of your way of life and holiness. May there be nothing which keeps me from the joy of living in your presence.”
God’s word reminds us that no destructive force can keep anyone from the peace and safety which God offers to those who seek his help.” A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you. Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation.” (Psalm 91:7,9).