Jesus Calms a Man

Mark 5:1-20

1They 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.

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.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 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.

14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 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. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 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.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[b] how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

 

In the previous story, Jesus calms a storm that threatens to swamp the boat that the Disciples are traveling in across the Sea of Galilee. Here in this story, Jesus is still in the same region and he comes upon, perhaps, the most distressed and chaotic figure in the entire Gospel narratives. This man is as uncalm as you can be. This man has lost control of himself and has come under the power of demons, many demons. He is not in his right mind and he regularly attacks people who come near him. But after encountering the one who speaks to the wind and waves and commands them to be still, the man is delivered to peace. He is found in his right mind and in a healthy place. The point of the story is that Jesus is able to calm people too!

(As an aside, in Matthew’s gospel, there are two men mentioned in this story who are demonized.) One does not preclude two and when you recognize that Jesus tells the man to go and tell his story to the people in his region, you have the possibility for one person to be much better known than another. It does not matter to the impact of the story if it is one man or two being delivered.

If we are looking for application in this story to our lives, I think we should think of aspects of this man’s behavior that people might share that make them more chaotic. If Jesus is able to set him free, then surely He must be able to work in our lives as well!!

Let’s look at the issues of life that indicate how chaotic this man’s life is.

  1. Evidence of a Chaotic Man

Power is the goal of witchcraft. And power is often attained through witchcraft. But that is not all that one gets!

  1. Agitation and violence

This man is overcome by anger. He is demonstrates unusual         strength. He attacks people who come near.

There is an attack on life in general. Even the request to be   sent into the pigs brings death and hardship to people. This is the      goal. To steal, kill and destroy. Steal what? Freedom. Think    about negative behaviors. The loss of freedom that we call      addiction is common in people. Even if our addictions are not so obvious like drug and alcohol addiction or sex addiction. What         about addiction to control, to possessions, to money, to security, to the approval of people etc.

 

  1. Self-Harm

        In this instance the self-harm was obvious. There are many less   obvious instances of self-harm. Drug and alcohol addiction for example.

If God says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, then that is    what we are to believe about ourselves. We are to honor the     work of God that is us. We are not to destroy ourselves in either    big or little ways.

Old Testament: Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. The word for rebellion is pharmachea.

 

  1. Complete rejection and isolation

Living among the tombs.

All of his relationships are negative.

Fully and completely unclean, separated from God.

The demonic influence in his life is what is now defining     his life.

I believe that demonic influence is a better way to think about what the goal of evil is in all of our lives than demonic possession. This does not mean that demonic possession is not possible or terrible.

But we can have our minds influenced by demonic ideas.

I Timothy 4: The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

James 3 describes demonic wisdom

We can have our emotions influenced by demonic desires. We can have our wills captured by demonic influence. And we are in need of deliverance if we find ourselves in this place.

I relate this to being filled by the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 5 Paul compares being influenced and empowered by the Holy Spirit to being influenced and empowered by alcohol.

When someone is filled by the Holy Spirit they are yielding their will to the direction, power and influence of the Holy Spirit. This makes them more and more free, and they grow in this. Set your minds on things above, set your hearts on things above, let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. Come to Jesus so that you might have life and He will give you the Holy Spirit as a gift of life that endures and grows over time.

 

  1. Encounters with Jesus Bring Freedom

Count the number of times in the gospels and Acts that demons   are defeated.

  1. Jesus came to defeat Satan

        He does this in His own life: Temptation in Matt 4, prayer   in the Garden “Not my will…”

        Matthew 4 all the demon possessed are healed

        Matthew 8 many demon possessed are delivered

        Matthew 9 demon possessed man who could not talk is      delivered and healed.

        Matthew 12 demon possessed, blind and mute. Delivered and   healed.

        Matthew 15 Canaanite woman’s daughter is demon possessed   and suffering. Jesus delivers and heals the girl without ever        seeing her.

Mark 1 a man with an impure spirit in Capernaum is delivered

Mark 1:34,39 a foundation of Jesus ministry is driving demons   out of people

Luke 8 Jesus drove seven demons out of Mary Magdalene

Matthew 17 Boy is demon possessed and suffers seizures. Disciples are unable to drive the demon out. (Prayer)

I John 3: Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 

John 10: 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

By contrast in this story, Jesus calls Himself the good shepherd of the sheep and the door for the sheep.

 

  1. Jesus is plundering Satan’s possessions

Matthew 12: 25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.

In this passage, Jesus’ ministry can be described as entering Satan’s house, tying him up and then plundering his property.

  1. Salvation from the power of our sin

Death comes in many forms.

Death of the body

Death of the mind

Death of the spirit

Death of marriage.

Death of family.

Death of work.

Death of all of the blessings that God has brought into our lives.

 

III. Jesus invested His followers with authority

The name of Jesus is not a magic phrase. The name of Jesus is an issue of authority. We have the authority to act in Jesus’ stead. Did Jesus do something that indicates His will and desire? We have the authority to act for Him.

  1. Greater is He Who is in you

I John 4: Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

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. Jesus shares His authority with people

        Matthew 10:1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

Luke 10: Jesus sends out 72 and they drive out demons!

John 14: 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Matthew 11: yoked with Jesus

 

  1. Some encounters are harder than others

        Notice that this story has resistance in it.

 

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.”

 

Story after transfiguration:

Mark 9: 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.

Get people to encounter Jesus and they will be delivered!