Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones...
The twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities--Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons.
Who is worthless? Who is forgotten? Who is beyond healing? Whom should we cast out from respectable society? Whom should we turn away from our churches?
Surely crazy people. What about evil people or self-mutilators? Because millions mutilate themselves with blades and intoxicants--or even with words and food.
Words and food? Consider them: The majority of us damn ourselves with bad words, and bad eating is man's most common temptation--as evidenced by Jesus in the desert.
One of the Bible's most featured stories of healing is about the demon-possessed lunatic(s) and the herd of swine.* It covers 41 verses in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Why so many? Because no life is worthless to God. Because no one is beyond salvation. Because the real pigs in this story are not swine, but men.
Because the town preferred pigs to people. This sad truth was illustrated when they overlooked the miraculous restoration of a tormented man--to focus on the loss of their pigs (which represented their profits). Even worse, they begged Jesus to leave their town... that they would lose no more.
But 'Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?' (Mark 8:35-36).
In terms of the wild man possessed by no fewer than a legion of demons, consider this: inside his besieged mind and body was a God-seeking soul that still lived and hoped--enough for him to approach Jesus. Jesus' response? 'The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out' (John 6:37). The man was healed.
Our lesson? No life is worthless. No one should be cast out. Mary Magdalene, the first lady of the resurrection, was possessed by seven demons. Her former self was evil. Her latter self was saintly. It's the way we finish that counts.
To Be Continued...
* The story of the demon possessed lunatic(s) and the herd of swine:
Matthew 8:28-34: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%208:28-34&version=NKJV
Mark 5:1-20: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%205:1-20&version=NKJV
Luke 8:26-39: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%208:26-39&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Impossible Healings series.