Mark 5:1-20 tells the story of a miserable man who was kept in the tombs by a legion of unclean, demonic spirits. The spirits trapped him there to torment him continually with the spectacle of death. They cut him off from society and he lived as a dead man among the dead. The “Gardarene Demoniac,” as we’ve come to know him, had perhaps never known an experience of love, mercy or forgiveness. His memories of human touch are limited to the posses sent to hold him down in order to chain his hands and feet. Especially in the depths of the night, you could hear him wail and cry out with eerie sounds. Normalcy was a distant memory and he was equally feared by others and afraid himself as he lived a life of restless pain, agony, mental anguish.
Enter Jesus into the land of the Gadarenes, the one who has recently quieted the vicious storm, who with a word heals and restores the man. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.
When we trust Jesus, he heals the darkest troubles in the deepest recesses of our souls.
The townspeople find the man sitting, clothed and in his right mind (all new and foreign experiences for him). He no longer drives people away, he is no longer afraid and he’ll be home for dinner. His Spirit is clean, his mind is healthy and now he has a story to tell (like you have a story to tell) about how he lived in the abyss of madness and hell. He would say, “I know it’s hard to believe but I used to be the Man of the Tombs until the day I encountered the conquering love of Jesus. It’s a love that takes your sin away and leaves you seated, clothed and in your right mind.”
Though our conversions would likely be less dramatic than this, we can relate to the man of the tombs. Before we encounter Christ, there is an experience of being held captive by the devil to do his will. (cf. 2 Tim. 2:25b-26) We lived as dead men among the dead with only death and judgment to look forward to. Jesus comes to us across the abyss to our tomb of deadness so we are able to cross from death to life (John 5:24). We were dead in our transgressions and sins, without God and without hope (Eph. 2:1-10) until we encountered the conquering love of Jesus and He restored our souls.