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Lenten Devotional: Mar. 6

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Today’s texts: Genesis 43:16-34; 1 Corinthians 7:10-24; Mark 5:1-20

Mark 5:1-20

The healing account of the demoniac called Legion is the climax of Jesus’ confrontation with demons in Mark. Here Jesus encounters a man so tortured that he is not only uncontrollable (5:3-4) but completely alienated from society: he lives among the tombs (5:3). And further, he is self-destructive (5:5). In his encounter with Jesus, we learn that he is possessed not only by one demon, but many (5:9). The term “legion” is used in a military context to designate a group of one hundred men. But even this magnitude of demonic forces is under the command of Jesus, the Son of God. Upon Jesus’ command and permission they leave the man (5:12-13). Freed from demons, the man is now found “sitting, clothed and in his right mind” (5:15). This deliverance to sanity is described by Jesus as the Lord’s mercy (5:19) which is subsequently proclaimed in Decapolis (5:20).

Although an exact correlation may not be possible, perhaps many Asian North Americans (ANAs) can understand the elements of alienation from society and the struggle to maintain identity and sanity. Many ANAs wrestle with conflicting cultural values and identity and more often than not find themselves in a desolate place, alienated, alone and seemingly without hope. This story teaches us that there is hope in our savior Jesus Christ. He alone has power and authority over hostile forces and is able to deliver the tortured soul to sanity and equanimity. And the choice is not simply American or Asian cultural identity, but that of Christ. In him there is peace and sanity. And it is his mercy that we proclaim to all.

Sydney Park Sydney Park is Assistant Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, where she teaches Biblical Interpretation, New Testament Theology, and Greek. She is the author of  Submission Within the Godhead and the Church in the Epistle to the Philippians: An Exegetical and Theological Examination of the Concept of Submission … 2 and 3 (Library of New Testament Studies). Her research interests include racial reconciliation and the Gospel of Mark. She previously taught New Testament at Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota (2004-06), and also served as a minister to children, youth and young adults in Korean American churches in Illinois, Texas and Washington for 11 years.

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