Scriptures

Jesus And The Demon Possessed Man

Introduction

Mark focuses much of his Gospel on Jesus’ encounter with those who were demon possessed, and thereby attracted the attention of the religious leaders, Mark 3:20-30. He provides some extraordinary details in this particular exorcism.

His purpose is not to tell a good story, but to provide details that help fill in the bigger picture; and the Holy Spirit has preserved this event for the people of God throughout the ages. The event revolves around demons, a demon possessed man, and a society that rejects him and his encounter with Jesus.

‘They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills, he would cry out and cut himself with stones.’ Mark 5:1-5

Jesus crosses the Sea of Galilee, which is about 13 miles long and eight miles wide, and lands in a Gentile region where he encounters a man whose life is under the control of demons. He is a tormented soul. This demon possessed man was not allowed to mix in society and so he made his residence among the tombs.

Mark tells us that he could not be bound, even with chains. It’s worth considering that if he was strong enough to break out of the chains that bound him, how were the people able to chain him in the first place?

In his tormented state he can be heard howling day and night, frightening those living nearby. Furthermore, ‘he would cut himself with stones.’ The evil spirit that had taken possession of him was trying to destroy him.

What would life be like for this poor tormented man?

What would life be like for those who lived in the area?

Mark, in referring to the evil spirit that possessed him, has inserted an interesting comment, ‘no one was strong enough to subdue him.’

Is that not a veiled reference to Mark 3:27?

‘When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!’ For Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you impure spirit!’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘My name is Legion,’ he replied, ‘for we are many.’ And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.’ Mark 5:6-10

Demons often recognised Jesus, Mark 2:23-24 / Mark 2:33-34 Mark 3:11 / Acts 16:16-18 / James 2:19. They immediately recognised four things about Jesus.

1. Jesus was the Son of God.

2. He had superior power.

3. He had authority to banish them, and

4. They were subject to His authority.

What does this tell us about obedience to Christ?

The demon’s name was Legion. There was a belief that if you knew the name of a demon you could gain control over him, so a demon would never divulge his name. However, this demon bows to the authority of the Son of God and reveals his name, though he didn’t tell Jesus anything he did not already know.

Banished To The Pigs

‘A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.’ He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.’ Mark 5:11-13

Why do you think Jesus did this?

1. Jesus is demonstrating how destructive demons are.

2. The demon possessed man was given visible proof that the demons had left him.

3. Jesus is showing that the restoration to wholeness of one person created in God’s image is more valuable than 2,000 pigs.

Please Leave

‘Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.’ Mark 5:14-17

News travelled fast, the demon possessed man was recognised by the local people; this is the same man they had clamped in chains and banished to live among the tombs. They had observed his behaviour and heard his terrifying cries.

But what they now saw was a changed man ‘dressed and in his right mind.’ Frightened, and rather than have anything else happen to the remaining pigs, or any other livestock, they ask Jesus to leave.

How would this encounter with Jesus change this once tormented poor man’s life?

How would it affect the those living within that area?

Why would these people tell Jesus to leave the area?

Go And Tell

‘As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ So, the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.’ Mark 5:18-20

Restored and in his right mind he wanted to remain in the company of Jesus but it was more important that he go and tell others what Jesus had done. He had a story to tell and Jesus wanted him to proclaim it. And he did, to the amazement of all who heard him.

Conclusion

The Bible has much to tell us about the devil, 1 Peter 5:8 / John 8:44 / 1 John 3:8. Everything about him is destructive, he lies to us about everything.

Do we underestimate the power of the lies which the devil tells us and people around us today?

Do we underestimate the power of God to combat those lies in our and other people’s lives today?

‘You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.’ 1 John 4:4

What does this verse say and mean to you?

Chaining a demon possessed man didn’t resolve his problem, chains were powerless to address his problem. Today people are trying to resolve their spiritual problems in a similar way.

Can you think of any way that people try to resolve spiritual problems in a physical way?

Many people never experience deliverance because they are looking in the wrong place. The demon possessed man seemed to be a pathetic, hopeless case. However, his encounter with Jesus changed him.

And what Jesus did for him, Jesus continues doing for those who seek him. The mission of Jesus was to defeat the powers of spiritual darkness, this Jesus did in His death and resurrection, Colossians 2:15.

The man is told to go and proclaim what the Lord has done for him. You don’t need to be a scholar to share the Gospel, Matthew 28:18-20, all you need is to have been set free from sin by the living Christ.

What sin or sins has Jesus set you free from?

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Romans 8:28

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