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In Mark 5 we read about a man who was in bondage.  He was demon-possessed.  Talk about incarcerated.  Somehow, Satan had gained access to his life, and as a result the man lived in complete bondage to the demonic voices in his mind.  Look at Mark 5:1-13  They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.[a] When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”  “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

I want to describe the man’s condition, his need for freedom, by stating four facts about what I’ll call “tomb life.” 

  • Tomb life is a life of isolation.
  • Tomb life is a life out of control.
  • Tomb life is a life of mental torment.
  • Tomb life is a life of self-sabotage.
  1. Tomb life is a life of isolation.One of Satan’s main strategies is to isolate people from those who are doing living with Jesus, from those who are living well, who are living free. 

It is easier for Satan to get a foothold in your life when you are “out there on your own.”  This man was dwelling in a place where he had no interaction with the living.  There was no “iron to sharpen iron.”  There was no-one to provide nurture or encouragement, instruction or accountability.  There was no-one to celebrate with, laugh with, or worship with.  We were made for friendship, for collaboration and relationship.  I personally believe we discover much about who we are meant to be inside of relationships with other people.  As we interact with them, whether in learning situations or in situations where we get to serve them or be served by them or when we are just “doing life together,” we discover how we’re wired, what our likes and dislikes are, what we are destined to become.  This man was living disconnected from all of that.

While this Pandemic has had major physical, economic and emotional consequences for many people, for many families, for many futures, for our way of life in general, I fear we have no idea regarding the spiritual toll that being isolated from the Body of Christ, being disconnected from corporate worship, being quarantined to a place of solitary confinement, away from spiritual influences that are life-giving…I think it has repercussions we haven’t yet seen or considered.  I just want to caution you about the spiritual dangers of isolation and encourage you to make sure you are connecting somehow in healthy spiritual relationships with other believers.

I don’t believe the demons in the man were looking to meet up with Jesus.  I don’t believe they had a quick demon conference and said, “Let’s move this guy out to meet “The Great Emancipator.” No, I believe, that even though he was controlled by demons, there was still part of the man that enabled him to will himself to come out of the tombs to engage with Jesus.  He was tired of the isolation.  He was ready be free.

  1. Tomb life is a life out of control.

Our passage tells me that there were times that people had tried to reign this man in.  There were moments when people tried to get him to calm down.  They tried to gain control over someone who was demonstrating behavior that was out of control, but they were unsuccessful. No one could bind him.  The restraints that were imposed on him to try to get him to settle down, the chains, were simply torn apart.

Perhaps people had tried to restrain him because he was like the town evil.  Perhaps he had invoked harm on the people in the area.  Maybe others were living in fear of the man of the tombs. We don’t know what kind of episodes the chains were in response to.  We do know from the text, however, that he was involved in self-harm. What if the people who were trying to chain and bind him were trying to get him to listen to reason or they were trying to get him to stop harming himself?  I’d say it is safe to say there were attempts to restrain him because he was out of control. 

Could we let tomb life speak of a life that is out of control?  Could it represent a person who has refused to listen to the advice of others, refused to accept the discipline and healthy limits that God would say enables that person to live a quality life? 

We all know people who live with uncontrolled anger, with uncontrolled lust, with uncontrolled spending habits, who binge on alcohol and drugs, who live with an insatiable desire for pleasure, to the max, for excess speed, excess possessions, excess whatever.  All of those ways of being are forms of slavery.  When we live out of control there will be consequences to deal with.  People will get hurt.  Reputations will be destroyed. Credit scores will be ruined. Relationships will be broken.  God wants to free people so that they enjoy life without being dominated by any desire, without being overtaken by any attitude or uncontrolled, unhealthy pattern of responding. 

Maybe the man who lived in the tombs was ready to live a surrendered life to Jesus, The Great Emancipator.  Maybe he had tried to live in peace.  Maybe he had tried to stop the violence he seemed bent on performing.  Maybe he concluded that he was unable to live differently without Jesus’ help.  Maybe you have come or are coming to the same conclusion.  Maybe there are desires you are ready for Jesus to subdue in your life.  Maybe those inclinations to blow up on people and to tear people apart with your words, maybe the desire to live recklessly, excessively hasn’t gotten you where you thought you were headed, and maybe you are ready to be done with that kind of life because you realize that is tomb living and not the real freedom for which Christ has died.

  1. Tomb life is a life of mental torment.

Verse 5 says that night and day he would cry out. There was mental anguish and pain that played on repeat in his mind.  Maybe there had been trauma in his childhood.  Maybe Satan used it to convince him God didn’t love him, and he wanted to make sure he kept him where he had him by bringing those awful memories to his mind over and over. I don’t know, but I do know he lived in torment that caused him to cry out repeatedly.  He lived in anguish.  The sunrise didn’t provide any relief.  The next day was more of the same.  And no one heard his cries in the tombs. Maybe that’s why he lived there.  He could cry out in private.  He could let his heart pour out through his tears without concern for what anyone thought.  After he was delivered, we read that people witnessed that he was “in his right mind.” (Verse 15) There had been mental torment.  Now there was peace.

Is there something that brings tears from your heart to your eyes on a regular basis?  Do you stay uneasy and restless?  Is there an ongoing issue that is causing you daily anguish?  Are you exhausted from trying to think of a solution?  

Jesus can liberate your mind.  You can have the mind of Christ. (I Cor. 2:16) You can know truth.  You can have peace of mind.  You can live an assured life with an awareness of God’s promises and His presence to calm and empower you. You don’t have to live in a place of mental torment.

  1. Tomb life is a life of self-sabotage.

Verse 5 says that not only would he would cry out night and day, but he would cut himself with stones.  Over and over, he would repeat that which would continue to create pain and open wounds. Living with open wounds sores would have kept him bound in a hopeless cycle as he would stay isolated by others and tormented by himself.  Imagine a person who keeps inflicting pain on themselves and can’t stop.  That is literally where this man was.  He couldn’t stop harming himself.

Are you circumventing your own freedom?  Are you perpetuating your own pain?  Are you repeatedly making the same mistakes and sometimes on purpose because you don’t know how to stop?  Today, some people do cut themselves physically in an effort to seek relief for the pain they are feeling on the inside.  They believe that when they cut themselves and blood flows that somehow that becomes an outlet for their internal pain, when in reality, any relief they feel is short-lived, and in the process, they create more problems and more pain.  I think many people know the right things to do, but they lack the power to do them and the cycle of self-sabotage remains. 

Are you ready to walk out of the tomb?  Listen to the words of Jesus, from John 8:34-36:  “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Who is ready for a new identity as a Child of God and complete freedom from anything that binds you?  It is yours inside a relationship with Jesus, The Great Emancipator.

Matthew 25:1-13 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet
Luke 6:27-31-27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those
John 6:53-56 53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink