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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Portrait 2: Outside a Cemetery

Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord
has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.
Mark 5:19

In my word portrait today Jesus is standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. His disciples are nearby in a boat. The disciple closest to Jesus stands ready to assist Jesus as He steps into the boat. Another disciple is pulling in the anchor. The disciples are hastily preparing to leave.

Two hills are in the distance on opposite sides of the portrait. Upon one hill are tombs. Over the other hill, people from a nearby town are streaming with looks of curiosity or amazement. A group of men have gathered near Jesus and are listening to a young boy describe what he witnessed. The boy is pointing toward the sea, where an eerie darkness hovers over the water and the bodies of many dead pigs float. Several of the men are angrily pointing toward the boat, yelling at Jesus to leave their region. Their pigs are dead. Their lives have been interrupted!

Chaos abounds in the perimeter of the portrait, but not in the center. There stands Jesus with a man bowed at His feet. The man’s hair and beard are disheveled, yet he is clothed in a simple, clean white garment.

On the ground behind the man lay pieces of chain, broken shackles and scattered sharp rocks. These objects once defined him, but they will no longer. No longer will he live in the tombs and break the chains used to bind him. No longer will he cut himself with rocks. That life is behind him. The demons are gone. Jesus has set him free. 

The man looks at Jesus with gratitude and adoration. His scarred arms are outstretched, demonstrating His desire to go with Jesus. Yet Jesus, looking at the man with knowing eyes, extends His hand toward the crowd. This man is to stay with his people and share what God has done.

How have you responded to Jesus? Are you clinging to your present life and possessions and asking Him to leave you alone, or have you surrendered to Jesus and allowed Him to transform you?

Jesus, thank You for setting me free.

Jan Burkhart

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