I’ve started reading through the Gospel of Mark this week and have a couple of notes from today’s reading I’d like to share with you.

When Jesus and the Twelve crossed over the lake to the region of the Gerasenes they encountered the man possessed by demons, called Legion, “for we are many” they said (Mark 5:9 NIV). In the movies, television shows, and other stories I’ve seen, that reference Legion, I think none of them really do justice to the name and what it meant. A Roman legion could consist of anywhere between 4,000 – 6,000 soldiers or so. We know the demons left the man and went into a herd of pigs nearby. “The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned” (Mark 5:13 NIV). Therefore, we could deduce that there were at least 2,000 demons inside the man. Wow, that’s a lot of demons!

What strikes me as sad is how the people responded to what happened to the man.

Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

Mark 5:16-17 (NIV)

The people knew about the man and how he had been before Jesus. They knew what Jesus had done. Instead of choosing to know more about Jesus, or otherwise welcome Him, they asked Him to leave.

How sad it is that people would rather wallow in the things that they know than come out of the darkness into the light. One can surmise that the people were more angry and afraid about the pigs than the miracle of what Jesus did. If they even understood what had happened. We often fear what we don’t understand. This fear is part of the spiritual battle that is constantly taking place all around us. These verses in Mark remind me there are so many people in the world who are still lost and walking around in fear. However, they are so accustomed to their condition that they are afraid of change. This is why it’s even more important to treat everyone with the love of Christ that is in us.

While Jesus was on His way to heal the daughter of the Jairus, the synagogue leader, she died. I really like what Jesus told Jairus, “Don’t be afraid, just believe” (Mark 5:36 NIV). I feel the Lord is telling this to us today. There’s a lot of Scripture to give us the encouragement to trust in the Lord and not be afraid. Here are some of my favorites.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 (NIV)
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3 (NIV)
“Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’” Mark 5:36 (NIV)

Scripture tells us “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2 NIV). When we are assaulted by all sorts of thoughts, especially those of fear and anxiety, we have a choice of how to respond. Like muscles that get used to doing the same thing over and over again, our thoughts too can develop the same sort of “memory.” You might become nervous or have a hard time breathing when anxious thoughts come to you. When they come, instead of giving in to them, think on the word of God.

Your mind becomes renewed when the old thought behavior is changed into new behavior. This is why I really like Mark 5:36. It’s easy to remember to not be afraid and to just believe. Once you get Mark 5:36 down, try some of the others!

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.