Scary Bible Stories – Mark 5:15 – The Demoniac of the Gadarenes
Mania – v. 4-5 – The demoniac displays classic signs of mental distress – he suffers self-inflicted wounds when he cuts himself, and he is unable to live with others.
Isolation – v. 3 –The demoniac suffers from social dysfunction. His withdraws from a society where he cannot and will not fit in. These are warning signs that the individual is suffering mental distress and social dysfunction.
Neighborhood vs. 13-17 — So often it is not just the mentally distressed who are dysfunctional. The maniac lives in a dysfunctional society with its values turned upside down. It loves the business of unclean things, and this is exemplified in its production of swine. The maniac is its designated sick, but the society itself is sick.
Divine – vs. 8, 15 – It is Jesus who has the power to put the man in his right mind. Jesus gives the man self-love and mission when he restores the man. At the same time his restoration is the beginning of the destruction of the community cycle. The community no longer has its designated sick person. What is scary is that the neighborhood asks Jesus to leave. Can you imagine asking Jesus to leave? That’s really scary.
Exemplary story: When Bram Stoker tells about the legends of vampires and werewolves, he gives readers a rule of thumb. Vampires cannot cross the threshold and come into a home uninvited, but once they are invited they come and go at will. How many of us have invited into our lives dark forces that come and go at will? Perhaps we need to allow Jesus to cast them out.