We’ve, more than likely, heard this next story. The Madman.
Found in Mark 5, here’s what is going on:
Jesus arrived on the other side of the sea. As He got out of the boat with his followers, a madman from the cemetery came up to Him. Now this wasn’t just any madman. He was a local lunatic with some renown. Night and day, this man roamed through the hills and graves of the cemetery screaming and slashing himself. People were terrified of him. Even more so because no one could bind him or tie him down. His body was carved with evidence of the broken chains – bloody – wounds leaking dirt and infection.
When the Madman saw Jesus from a long way, he ran to Him petrified. Fell to his knees and began to worship. Mark 5:6-8 tells us the Madman said, “What business do you have, Jesus, the Most High God messing with me? I swear to God, don’t give me a hard time.”
Jesus asked, “What’s your name?”
The Madman told Jesus, “My name is Mob. I am a rioting mob.” He then begged Jesus not to banish them to the country. Let us live in that herd of pigs close by.
Jesus agreed with Mob. The demons fled out of the Madman and hurried into the herd. It was immediately even worse for the pigs than the Madman. Crazed, they grew confused; fed off each other’s panic; and stampeded over a cliff into the sea. Drowned.
This was amazing. Everyone heard. The people in the town ran to where Jesus was astounded to see the Madman sitting next to Him. Talking normally, wearing decent clothes. A regular guy. It made no sense. If the Madman would not have had the scars from the broken chains no one would have believed it. Scriptures tell us the people were in awe.
Until they weren’t.
A little bit of time went by. Human nature leads us to explain things away. These humans were no different. Eventually, the thrill of the moment turned to envy. What did Jesus pick him? He’s a madman. I have needs of my own, and I deserve a miracle more than that lunatic.
Soon, came greed. Some people started complaining about the farmer and those poor, innocent pigs. What was the farmer going to do without his pigs? And those poor little pigs? What did they ever do to anyone? They didn’t deserve Mob to turn on them. How dare Jesus kill those poor little pigs!
The town of Gerasenes turned on Jesus. A different type of mob. Demanded Jesus leave. Now. Get in the boats. Go!
The man who used to be a madman pleaded with Jesus. Don’t leave me here! Please, take me with you. I will follow you anywhere . Go where you go. I will help you. Please. Take me. Jesus would not. Instead, He said, “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story. What the Master did.” For you.
Ahhhh. There it is. The piece for us.
First, I love how Jesus in Mark 5:9 asks, “What’s your name?” To the demons. Jesus gets personal. Mob was afraid. They recognized who Jesus was. They knew He could banish them in a second. Yet, Jesus stopped and asked their name. Then, He listened. And, he granted their request. It wasn’t the best request for them, as it led to a cliff and deadly swim. But, He listened and granted what they asked. The demon mob just asked for the wrong thing.
Our Savior is a personal one. If He takes that care for a mob of demons, how much more care will He show to us, His chosen children. It’s amazing if you stop to think about it.
Next, Jesus only had 12 disciples. It’s not like He had too many people He was carting around to bring just one more. They could have made room for one used to be a Madman. It was doable. Yet, that wasn’t what was best for the Madman, and it wasn’t what was best for the town.
What if no longer a Madman didn’t go back to his town? What would become of his story? There would only be the memory of a madman in that town. The rumors would grow, and the story would change barely recognizable in the end. Only if the man went back into the town and lived out the miracle right there among them would it stay real. He had to go back and tell his story. To what was left of his family. To those people who used to be his friends. To strangers. Getting in the boat would have been easy. And the miracle would be in that one life that was changed, a Madman’s. Instead his miracle, the story of a Madman, becomes a story of a personal Jesus, and many lives changed. His impact isn’t singular. It was multiplied through an ex- Madman’s obedience.
The beauty of a simple story is we all have one.
What is yours?
Who are you telling?
What is your impact?