Get past those contradictions to see human beings who need Jesus.
Mark 5: 1 “They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.”
The contradiction of origin:
It was the region of the Gerasenes. Matthew says it was the region of the Gadarenes and some translations have Gergesenes. All 3 are the same place. It is like I say I am from England or I could say Great Britain and I could also say the United Kingdom. The Sea of Galilee was also called the Lake Gennesaret and also the Sea of Tiberius, it is the same place. Whether you were local or someone from a far off place may determine what name you know the area by.
The contradiction of demograph:
The critics will talk of another contradiction in that Mark and Luke tell the story of one man, Legion, but Matthew tells of two men. The contradiction is easily understood depending on where the focus is. If the point of the story was to accurately tell of the number of demon-possessed then there is a contradiction. But if it is to tell of the fact that there Jesus was more powerful than the demons then there is no contradiction. There were two men, but the point is Jesus was confronting not one demon but a plurality of demons. The story passed down to Mark and Luke focuses on one man and the story passed down to Matthew focuses on two and that is okay. The point is that what is in common is that Jesus has the power over the demonic. So if you stall on the number you have missed the whole point.
The contradiction of culture:
They sailed across the Sea of Galilee to a place occupied by Hellenistic Jews. These people were Jews but were heavily influenced by the Greek language and culture. There was such a blending together of Jewish and Greek cultures that it formed a sub-culture. The region was also known as the Decapolis, simply meaning ten cities and Mark is the only gospel that says one of the men that he focuses on became an evangelist in those cities. If you came from that region then you were not a pure Jew like those found in Jerusalem and Judea, you came from a different school of thought, you had a mixture of belief.
So what does all that mean, what am I thinking?
Many may get hung up on details and treat people as only a number or want to talk about their history, trying to categorise them, but Jesus doesn’t think like that. That’s not what he wants us to focus on.
Everybody deserves to take the journey themselves no matter who they are, where they come from or what has happened.
Yesterday someone was telling me how their gospel work was small. I told them it is huge to those who receive it.
No doubt the disciples wondered why they had decided to travel to this region. But Jesus knew. Let me suggest what he was saying:
“We are going into a place of contradiction and a place that will forever have confusion attached to a story that we will make. Many will miss the point because they will look at the contradiction and the confusion. But there are two men underneath all that discussion who are real and who God loves that are on the edge of society that not even history will be kind to them because they will be argued over. But it is to them that I have come.”
Today we can easily look at people in a certain way and focus only on the contradiction of their life. Or we can cross the lake and go to a small group, to two, or even one and change their world. Everybody is worth the journey. Get past those contradictions to see human beings who need Jesus.