Friday, December 10, 2010

Unbelievable Mercy

Mark 5:13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the pigs, and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and were drowned in the sea.

13 καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς. καὶ ἐξελθόντα τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ὡς δισχίλιοι, καὶ ἐπνίγοντο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ.

This may be my favorite story in all of Mark.  Jesus is dealing with a man possessed with many demons.  He has been relegated to living in a tomb and is not in his right mind.  The demons recognized Jesus immediately upon His arrival and they begged Him not to torment them.  What was the result? ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς.  There is nothing fancy about the Greek here.  Basically, Jesus permitted the demons to have their request.

I think about my attitude toward those who have harmed me.  If someone were to hurt anyone in my family I would have a hard time showing mercy.  I would want to see that person suffer.  It would be difficult for me to be content with them merely receiving justice.  I would also want revenge.

Jesus certainly had it in His power to make these demons suffer.  In fact, that's what they were worried that He would do.  Instead, He cast the unclean spirits into unclean animals.  We don't really know what happened to the unclean spirits other than that they were not bothering their original host anymore.  I have not given much thought to the doctrine of demonology so I don't really understand everything that happened here.

What I do know is that Jesus even showed mercy to demons.  This was sheer grace because they did not deserve any mercy.  How much more mercy does He show us when He saves us from our sins?  And as we live our lives and seek to be Christlike, how much mercy do we show others?  How much grace do we extend?

My inclination is to be vindictive.  Christ's is to show mercy.  Let's seek the better path, amen?

No comments: