Jesus Christ, the Savior, remains merciful to those who call out to him. Today, we will look at a time when Jesus some may argue was merciful to demons. When you first hear this you may think I am totally crazy. We can look at scripture that detail accounts where Jesus ordered demons to leave their human hosts and they did without further discussion, but for now, this day, we will turn to the Gospel of Mark chapter five.
Most know the story of the wild man that Jesus healed. Christ took the demons out and put them into swine. Today we will examine that passage and look at a very sad, heartbreaking line of scripture that hopefully instill in all of us a greater urgency to spread the Gospel.
They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4 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. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
Think about this possessed man for a minute. He comes come from out of the tombs, a cemetery mind you, to face God in the flesh, Jesus Christ. The man from the description had been chained. We have a dog that is constantly snapping her chain and running loose. I imagine this man looks similar to our dog. The chains are dangling from his arms and legs as he lives alone in the wilderness covered by death and her cemetery. The man is too strong to be held by human hands. Scripture says that night and day he would cry and cut himself with stones. He is utterly alone, mentally anguished, and perpetually abusing himself physically. If you ask me, that just about describes your run of the mill “emo” kid. The man is self-mutilating himself with rocks. Needless to say, his life is crap.
6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!" 8 For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!"
Tortured, lonely man runs to Jesus and falls on his knees. He screams at God, “What do you want with me?” It is amazing to me that the beast demons inside of this man knew and recognized Christ. Jesus taught for three threes during his earthly ministry that the road to Heaven is narrow and only a few find it. He taught his followers to fear not that the world hates them because the world does not know Him. Yet, here, a demon possessed man runs to Christ, falls to the ground and acknowledges Christ by calling Him the Son of the Most High God. Demons do something that most congregational members refuse to do; acknowledge the Living God, Jesus Christ.
The demon asks Christ to swear that He won’t torture him. See they know. The opposing team led by Satan knows they cannot stand to an Almighty Father, Son, and Spirit. The demon is begging Christ to leave him. Jesus of course orders the demon out.
Immediately after ordering the demon out, Jesus asks the demon a funny question. I know from reading and studying scripture, Jesus never did anything other than what the Father wanted Him to do. I believe the following dialogue was done for the benefit of the soon to be healed man.
9 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.
A Christian acquaintance of mine years ago told me when the subject of demons arose that, “Demon possession was in Bible times. We don’t have any of that today.”
“So, you don’t think demons exist today?”
“No. That was Bible times.”
“When did they (demons) cease to exist?”
“I dunno-I just don’t think that people could be possessed.”
“The Word of God hasn’t changed. Satan is still trying to run interference.”
The conversation went on and on. Again, I am not an educated theologian. I am armed only with my study and what God has allowed me to know of His Word. We are in “Bible Times.” I do not see a change. The nights are still as dark, evil is a real entity, and as Peter called Satan, he is still a lion on the prowl looking to devour any he can. Now, let’s get back to the scripture.
The demon responded, “My name is Legion for we are many.”
How many tenants you got living up in there you may want to ask. Historically speaking a legion in a Roman army would have been five thousand or so. I don’t have a mathematical formula to figure that one out. Truth is, we don’t need to know how many demons it takes to possess a man, woman, or child. All we need to know is that this possessed man fell on his knees before God in the flesh, recognized His deity, and begged.
If you have ever had a pet pig or get fanatically upset over animal rights or the lack thereof in some cases, let me warn you now. The following scripture is true (as is all scripture). If you disagree with this, please forward all your complaints to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit via prayer.
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 evil 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.
Two thousand or there about pigs go charging off the cliff. This may be where the cliché “when pigs fly,” was first uttered by a bystander. Let’s look again at what transpired. The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them."
Legion, a demon that could not be controlled by mankind begged Jesus. Begged I repeat. Why was he begging to not be let out in that area? I don’t know if the geography of the area had anything to do with it, but the simple fact is, the man, the host body had to be comfortable. At first Christ ordered Legion out, but then inquired about its name. After hearing the pleas, Christ as scripture says gave permission.
13 He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs.
If the pig herd had not been present would Christ have given permission? I don’t know. I don’t think for a moment that the pigs being present were a coincidence. I don’t wish to bore you dear readers with Pigology 101, but here goes: Pigs were considered unclean beasts at this time. Pigs, while considered suitable pets I suppose, are thought of as disgusting creatures. Politicians who waste taxpayer monies do so on initiatives/wastes of time/paper on “pork barrel” projects. The point is, even today, pigs are looked at in an unsavory light. Biblically speaking I don’t recall any other animal other than the snake and the pig being possessed by either Satan or demons. With that being said, it is logically and poetically just that Christ “allowed” the demons to enter into the ill-fated pigs.
This is usually the point where animal rights’ folks stand up and scream, “Jesus destroyed the economic harmony of the pig herders, poor piggy piggy,” and such. Earlier I alluded to the fact that Christ never did anything during his three year ministry that the Father did not want. The ordeal with the pigs was a vehicle to further spread the Gospel. Speaking of the owners of the pigs, let’s check on them.
“He did what?”
“Something came out of old crazy Joe up at the bone yard!”
“What happened to your pigs? They flew?”
“No. No! Something came out of Joe and went into that them pigs. My entire herd went charging off the cliff!”
“You say there was another fellow there that said, ‘Come out,’?”
“Let’s get the rest of the folks and go see!”
That wasn’t the scripture. It was my own attempt at southern humor, but the scripture reads close to it.
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.
The people knew the demon possessed man that I named Joe. They knew of his condition. Apparently since he had chains on his appendages, we have to assume the good people who were now present to see the pig incident had at one time at least attempted to chain up this “crazy” man in an attempt to help him. You would think they would be happy to see that the man formerly known as crazy was no longer impaired. Not so much.
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.
Fear drives us more than we wish to acknowledge. These people were afraid. The man known as formerly demon possessed sat coherently, in his right mind, dressed, AKA not naked, and they were afraid no doubt of Christ. Before going on to verse sixteen, I want all of us to think about and appreciate what we have thanks to Christ alone. It is not until you humbly come to the cross of Christ, repent of your sins and acknowledge who He is, that the Grace of God, Father, Son, and Spirit abolishes your sins forever. We are demon possessed, but look at the change in the man after Christ healed Him. Throughout scripture we are taught that once a sinner comes to Christ repenting of sin and acknowledging the deity of Christ, that person is no longer a sinner, but viewed by Holy God as as a saint! Without the healing of God Almighty, Jesus Christ, we are filthy, dirty rags that God the Father will not look upon. If we don’t repent and make Christ the Lord of our lives, then the Son will deny us in front of the Father. Oh what a day that will be when God looks upon us and sees that we are his because of our belief in the One he sent.
16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
Verse seventeen breaks my heart. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. “No thanks, Jesus.” They were afraid and begged Jesus to leave. Let’s look at it from a modern perspective. We are the fearful people. We have heard about a man named Joe who has been changed, healed if you will, converted to Christianity. We know how wild Joe used to be. We had parties at Joe’s place. But now instead of parties, Joe is having Saturday night Bible Study. Joe is active in church and he is living the Christian life.
If we are not Christians, we think Joe has lost his mind. We are so used to the world, beer commercials, Hollywood, and talking heads (tv personalities) telling us what’s right, we are essentially telling Christ to leave just like the people in Mark chapter five whether it is by us not hanging out with Joe, not attending church, and or engaging in anything that keeps Jesus from developing a relationship with us.
Jesus did as they asked. He left. He left, but He left a witness that would proclaim the news.
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 family 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 how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
The man wanted to go with Christ. He was willing to be like many of the other disciples in that he would leave his family to follow Christ. That was not what the Lord had in mind. "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." Christ did not want glory for Himself. He was not patting Himself on the back saying, “Atta boy.” It was to spread the news of the power, love, grace, and mercy of God.
You may already be a Christian. If you are, God bless you. Continue to study and exalt Lord Jesus above all. Maybe you’re not. If not, you are one breath away from hell. Today is the day of salvation because tomorrow is never promised. Come to Jesus and let Him heal you today. Tomorrow may be something you never see. Your tomorrow will be an eternity of pain and suffering burning forever in hell if you die without Jesus as your Savior today. All you have to do to be saved is come to the cross of Christ by sincerely, truly repenting of your sins and giving your life to Christ.
I know I have sinned. Father, I cannot live this life anymore without you. Father, I turn away from these sins, Lord. I believe Jesus is your son. I know He took my place on the cross and died for me. I know He rose from death allowing me to spend eternity with you God if I make Him Lord of my life. Lord, I ask your son, the Lord Jesus Christ to come into my heart, my life. Lord, make me a new creation. It is in the holy name of Christ, I pray. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, if you have truly given your heart to Christ, the Holy Spirit of God as scripture teaches now lives within you. Go now and find if you do not have one, a Gospel preaching church. Join with the other family members of Christ and grow in the knowledge through prayer and reading and studying of The Bible.