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Expository thoughts on Mark (Mark 1:1-20)

 ·   ·  β˜• 9 min read  ·  ✍️ Odunayo Rotimi


Key Text: Mark 1:1-20.
Key Characters: Jesus and a Madman

Mark 5:1

Mark 5:1 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.

It is Jesus who comes to us. We have not called Him, but He has chosen us. He woos us by His amiable presence, which ought to be cherished as the sinless approaching an unworthy sinner. Or as a prince approaching a popper.

Jesus came from the other side of the waters of the sea, that is, the cloud. He traversed a distance quite long to travel. He suspended all He had as possession, position and progression in heaven and came down to the poor, drab earth only to abode with a sinner like you and I.

To say the least, this journey was not a convenient one. A sin-stricken world is not Jesus’s natural habitat as a shack isn’t befitting the honour of a king.

He came to this man in a borrowed boat 🚒. Jesus came to us in a borrowed body, paying back the interest by living solely to the glory of God. He came in a lowly guise, as one possessing all things made; yet possessive of nothing. It is so that He may access and be accessible to all stray sheep.

Oh, what might is in Him, that has all might and empties Himself of this might that He might help the might-less! This is the highest might ever manifested.

Mark 5:2

Mark 5:2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

Dirty as we are, smeared with sin as we may appear, loathsome in sin as we may look, we are all attracted by the distinctiveness of holiness and admiration of purity, wherever found. Nonetheless, we hate the personality in question but the sublimity of such character is always clearly spelt out to our consciences. We are largely attracted by purity but once such purity rebukes our spiritual lack of it, we tend to repel the pure through self-guided rebellion.

A man of unclean spirit being visited by a righteous God. One would have asked what this madman’s darkness had in common with Christ’s light? It is love and mercy for the sinner. As far as light can oust darkness, there can be a holy alliance through submergence. Since post-darkness, both can revel in the same form of light - one great light illuminating the other. He came that He might β€œseek and save the lost.”

We are all like this man lost in sin and living in a tomb of a world. We are as used to this sinful world as this mad man was to the tomb. Death never perturbed him, even when he was in a place of mourning than merriment - the same way, we are so used to sin such that we have no sorrow for it.

The madman knew not His need. Instead, Jesus’s purity reflected an irresistible light that revealed his dark state. We are so ignorant of our spiritual needs until the light of Christ reveals them to us. Hence, Paul bid us run our race from self-centeredness into total deliverance from sin, that is, Christ-likeness, keeping Christ ever nearby looking up to Him. This is so He can reveal our state of dirt to us. And through this, unlike the madman, we may desire purity. And in desiring purity, we may repentance. And by repenting, we may be cleansed. And by cleansing, we may gain Christ-likeness. And by Christ-likeness, we may be the salt and light of this sin-cursed earth, restraining and ousting evil wherever we are found.

Mark 5:5

Mark 5:5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.

"…crying out and cutting himself with stones."

One thing he did both on the mountaintop and in the tomb was to cry out and cut himself with stones. It was painful, nevertheless. Sin mars us with scars, nevertheless, we indulge in it. Sin tears us apart from God and though we climb to the mountain top, we will not find Him. Adultery reduces a man to a crumb of bread, vulnerable and consumable by someone of little power as little as a baby, yet our greatest pleasure is in this God’s displeasure.

Or alternatively, when we have done these things, we cut ourselves with stone, exhibiting penitence and thinking our salvation will proceed therefrom. Sorry brother, the sorrows of the unrighteous, who neglect the work of Christ, will be multiplied.

Mark 5:6

Mark 5:6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped Him.

No doubt, our soul, out of admiration, recognizes purity when it sees it. It runs to it in acknowledgement and nothing more.

His acknowledgement was so great that this sinner bowed his will to worship God. Even giving temporal credence to God such as going to church does not free this man from his natural personality - madness.

Jesus too was not moved by it. In fact most times, our attitudes are quelled in pretence so we can miss the rebuking power of Christ. So the demons, maintaining sin in us, behave. They corporate at regular times. They know and practice Solomon’s principles of time. They know the time to swell and the time to mellow. Jesus was around now, they coerced their victim to be comported as a saintly worshipper. Same way, many sinful acts are suspended till a church service is over.

Mary worshipped Jesus similarly and Jesus carried out no action of rebuke on her. If this false worship was a solution and was acceptable, it would have been a game-changer and Jesus would have turned back home.

Mark 5:7

Mark 5:7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, β€œWhat have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”

On getting to Jesus, the demons dedicated to his misbehaviour saw a great light they hadn’t bargained for. Other times they got away with it deceiving praise-loving fake prophets. But they met their match, and, even so, their superior this time around.

See how unified demons can get, they spoke with one voice, though legion. And the voice of many, being one, became so thunderous. They thought it would intimidate Jesus, or at least, frighten His companions.

When they tried to falsely worship Jesus and were met with brickwork impregnable by deception, they interposed false trembling, as if to say, demons can repent from being demons. We are not tricked not to remember that redemption aren’t for angels.

And in their trembling, they prayed. Demons pray too? They know the wrath of God. So they do entreat His mercy. What light they ignorantly approached to deceive! But, alas, they met with eyes that could see through the hidden places. They saw a light that reflects past what mere eyes could see. Suddenly they detected it was their doomsday.

They prayed to Jesus by God not to be tormented. They knew there existed a slated date of torment. And even now the light of Christ could deal as much torment as could be on that day. So, while the time of compassion lasts, they solicited for some.

Dear friend, let’s pause shortly to reflect. When Christ said let your light so shine before men, He had envisaged similar times like this, when false worship, false credence, and a passionate plea from demons will bewilder us. He knows, that if we haven’t enough light, obtainable from gazing at Him in an unbroken fellowship, we will be easily deceived by demons. And their lawful captives will remain lawfully theirs. We wouldn’t take plunder of them since we are ignorant of their devices. We will not know where to bound and may entertain fruitlessly lingering dialogues from the undeserving, whom we should rather command. Have you light? Does it shine past deception? Can pretentious conversation approach your light and disarm it of its revelational and restraining effect? Do you need more light? Go to God. He is the Father of light and dwells in an almighty light that no one can attain too. Yet, the least that He gives will bedevil darkness and shudder them to their spines such as we have seen here.

The light of Jesus is a torment to evil. It naturally rebukes the hypocrites. It scares the sinner. And eradicates darkness anywhere found.

Mark 5:18-20

Mark 5:18-20 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, β€œGo home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marvelled.

Unlike the thief on the cross who followed Christ into the paradise that day, Jesus will not let this man follow Him. Jesus needed this man to be a great testimony to Him in that suburb.

To take him out was to deny Jesus a testimony in that environment. He was once very notorious. Now he has a totally new nature, worthy of the Master’s boast. He could attract now as much as he could repel before. He is a sign that great things happened through the Master’s hand, a warning that all the Master claimed would come to pass. He is a trending wonder everyone will love to engage with. To the profit of the Father’s kingdom, it was expedient that he remained in that region. To the believer, have old things not, like this once madman, passed away and all things become new? Little wonder why Jesus left us here. He could have taken us at the point of our redemption like the repented thief on the cross, but so that we may be witness to Him in either our own β€œJerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the earth.”

It is so that it may be fulfilled that till He comes He will not fail to leave Himself a witness in mankind. He needs us to reach out to those who he cannot reach under the scope of His own assignment. He loves us to witness to the willing and witness against the repellent. He wants His works in us to compel the called to come to Him through us. And also to repel repulsively those who choose the path of destruction. So that on the day of judgment, none shall there stand before God, denying the reach of the gospel to him or her.

How are you faring as an ambassador? Are you telling the news to friends? Are you telling that which your eyes have seen? Are you declaring to the world around about your experience of Him that has touched you? Are you turned off by their deafness? Or are preaching in and out of season? Gratitude for grace received, enjoyed and anticipated should answer all these in the affirmative.

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Odunayo Rotimi
Odunayo Rotimi