THERE’S a cheery topic! What could possibly be said about such a gruesome, depressing subject that could lead us to a closer walk with Jesus?
When I learned about the catacombs in Paris, I was shocked and appalled. Paris holds charm, but not there. Over six million people's remains are in the underground tunnels known as the Catacombes de Paris. A musty smell permeates the air—a stench of death and decay. People have gotten lost in the tunnels at some points 200 feet below sea level. A secret community known as Cataphiles meets there, entering by underground passageways. Exploring the tunnels is only a small part of what they do. Eerie altars and sculptures of death and darkness are displayed on the walls of the tunnels. Certainly, a fascination with death draws these cataphiles. All kinds of perverse, illegal parties are held there, and the pleasures of sin thrive in this community.
Dwelling in the catacombs would only appeal to those comfortable living in darkness. When Christ enters our life at the moment of salvation, we come into the light. Regarding darkness, Ephesians 5:7-14 says, Don't participate in the things these people [in darkness] do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light."
Jesus encountered a sorry soul in the country of the Gerasenes. The man was demon-possessed, and no one could restrain him—even binding him in chains was ineffective, for he could break them with the strength of the demonic spirits within him. Mark 5:3-5 (NASB) says of this demoniac, he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. And constantly, night and day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out and gashing himself with stones.
The demoniac lived among the tombs. The cozy place he called home was among the remains of dead people. There was no light or life in his dwelling among the dead. The demons holding him captive loved such a place, for their mission of sin, death, and destruction flourished as they tormented this man day and night. The scripture says he cried out and cut himself with stones. There’s nothing light or life-bringing in that! The townspeople were terrified of him. He ran around naked and crazed—precisely what a life of sin and demonization will do to anyone who gives himself to it.
Enter Jesus. Wonderful Jesus! The Light of the world knew exactly what to do! May I interrupt your thoughts with this truth: He has called US to be salt and light to the world we live in. He has given US this same authority and responsibility to set demonized, tormented people free! In a word, Jesus called demonic spirits out of people, and immediately they were healed of many diseases and set free from demonic torment.
Jesus knew that living in the tombs was not a place for spiritual life and health. Did HE stay in His tomb? Absolutely not! Imagine if He had. Sinless, holy Jesus burst forth in resurrected life from His tomb with the good news that the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you! (Romans 8:11 NLT).
Tombs represent areas that can potentially lead to death—be it spiritual, emotional, or physical death in our lives. Perhaps you are stuck in a tomb of addiction or sexual sin. It becomes your master and seeks only to destroy you. Maybe a harmful habit consumes your thought life and behavior. It neither brings glory to God nor gives you peace. Could it be that your tomb is a hopeless trap of oppression that no one but Jesus can see? Just as the demoniac experienced torment, you suffer, too--sometimes night and day. Another tomb could be a pattern of wrong thinking, called a stronghold. I’ll never amount to anything. God’s blessings are for others, not me. This sickness will kill me.
The demoniac broke free from the tombs, his life of sin, and demon possession when Jesus cast the spirit named Legion out of him. In the days following his deliverance, the townspeople were amazed to see him fully clothed and in his right mind. Although he wanted to stay with Jesus, the Lord encouraged him to go home to his family and tell them what had happened. So began his new life of talking about the awesome things Jesus had done.
Our home is not among the tombs! The Lord calls us out of the dark places that bring us close to destruction and death, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9 NLT).
© 2022, Chris Werre