Friends, I am so excited to announce to you our new all-church Bible Study — welcome to GROW! Join our pastors and our church family on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm to look deeper into the Bible and find ourselves in the great stories of God.
We are starting with a series “Miracles of Jesus.” Each week we will study in-depth one of the Gospel stories and then discuss how these miracles manifest themselves in our own journeys of faith.
Flip a couple of pages back to Mark 5:1-20. Jesus performs an exorcism of a man who lived in the tombs. When we meet this man, he has lost his sanity, he is a danger to himself and others, he has no social ties to his community.
Everyone has given up on him. Jesus frees the man from demonic possession, but the demons with Jesus’ permission enter a large herd of pigs and then drown them in the lake.
The restoration of the man comes at a big cost to the community — about 2000 pigs. The wealthy owner of this herd suffers a financial loss.
If the people who tend the pigs are hired workers, they lose their income. I also imagine that it is hard to find a job as a shepherd, when drowning the entire herd of pigs is on your track record.
If these shepherds are slaves, they may suffer corporal punishment or even worse. When the crowd gets the whole picture of what has just happened, they decide that the price for the exorcism is too high.
The life of a man who has already been considered expendable does not justify the loss of property. So, in Mark 5:17 they ask Jesus to leave their region and he complies. He is not welcome there anymore.
Despite this incident, Jesus comes back to the region in Mark 7 and people already recognize him. They bring to him a deaf man and beg Jesus to heal him.
The way Jesus performs the healing is unusual. We will focus on these details in our Bible Study.
The only clue I will leave you with today is that this story reminds me of the way we celebrate communion at the church. Over and over again, God overcomes any walls we put up around us, any fears or apprehensions, to meet us where we are, heal us and restore us!
I am looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday, September 16th at 6:30 pm, whether you choose to join us on Zoom or in-person! Watch for more details and announcements about GROW Bible Study.
Dr. Zhenya Gurina-Rodriguez
Associate Pastor of Grace Groups & Discipleship