Randy Meyer is the Executive Director of Education for The Church of the Resurrection.
When I was a very young boy, maybe 5 or 6 years old, my older brother used to have friends over to watch the TV show “Dark Shadows.” It was a daily soap opera featuring werewolves, zombies, warlocks, and a main character named Barnabas Collins, who was a vampire. It was all pretty harmless by today’s standards and I’m sure today would be quite funny to watch. However, to me at that time it was very, very scary! I distinctly remember sitting behind the TV (it was a floor console TV in the corner of the room–now I’m really dating myself!) and listening to the show because for some reason I was drawn to it, even though I had no intention of watching it. In fact, I was terrified to watch it, but something about the evil being portrayed on the TV screen enticed me, and I just couldn’t help but be curious about it.
Too often we are tempted to do things we know we shouldn’t do, and we become enticed and curious and drawn to it, in much the same way I was drawn to and enticed to sit behind that TV console. I think today’s scripture reading is a great reminder of where “bad things” or evil fit into the kingdom of God. Jesus’ treatment of the evil spirits in this story reminds us who is in control. The man in the story is overcome with demons. However, when Jesus takes control of the situation, notice what happens to those “spirits.” The influence of evil is overwhelmed by the peaceful presence of the Holy Spirit.
In our lives, pouring ourselves into Christ allows us to replace negative or bad influences with His presence. Being in tune with His kingdom allows us to replace a spirit of anger with a spirit of forgiveness, a spirit of hate with a spirit of love, greed with generosity, pride with humility, despair with hope, and so on. When you are in tune with the Holy Spirit and the way of God’s kingdom, it will change the way you act, look, and live.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says it this way: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Everyone else looked at the man in this story as a hopeless case. Jesus saw a man and a child of God. He saw a man in need of heavenly intervention! He will do the same for us. We too, can become a new creation in Christ.