Read Mark 5:1-20
As with yesterday’s reading, we have a story which appears in all three of the synoptic Gospels. But again, there are some unique features in Mark’s reporting of the event. All three evangelists agree that, in the country of the Gerasenes Jesus and the disciples run into a man who is possessed by many evil spirits and who lives among the tombs. But Mark adds the following details: “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…” Those are some frightening details.
When Paul, Barnabas, and Mark were in Paphos, they were opposed by a sorcerer who had a position of power in the city. There is no description of what he did to try to discourage the pro-consul from accepting the Word preached by Paul, but his opposition must have been significant based on Paul’s response. “Filled with the Holy Spirit,” Paul “looked straight at Elymas and said, ‘You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery…Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun’” (Acts 13:9-11). For the young man Mark, this encounter could have been very frightening. Then later to hear from his mentor Peter about the Gerasene demoniac, and the authority that Jesus had over that multi-possessed individual, was undoubtedly encouraging.
That same power and authority is available to all who are in Christ. St. Paul says that we have nothing to fear because in Jesus “we are more than conquerors”; we can “stand against the wiles of the devil”, and that Jesus has “disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him” (Rom. 8:38; Eph. 6:12; Col. 2:15). Nothing can separate us from Him!