Mark 5:1–20 (NASB 95)
The Gerasene Demoniac
1 They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 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. 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. 6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and shouting with a loud voice, he said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” 8 For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. 12 The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” 13 Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.
14 Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 They came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened. 16 Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. 17 And they began to implore Him to leave their region. 18 As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. 19 And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.
Explain / Examine
Jesus and the disciples crossed the sea of Galilee to Gerasene. A man who was demon-possessed lived there. There was nothing the man could do. There was nothing the people could do. He could not be controlled. The demon knew who Jesus was and feared what Jesus might do. Jesus cast out the demons into a herd of unclean pigs, who rush and die in the sea. This act scared the Gentiles, and the man who was demon-possessed wished to leave with Jesus. But Jesus instructed him to proclaim the good news.
How do I apply this to my life?
What sticks out to me the most is the inability of man. What was this guy’s life like before the possession? The fact that there was a herd of pigs and a herdsman made me believe this guy was a Gentile. These were unclean animals so I don’t think this is a Jewish community. So, what did he believe before his encounter with Jesus? Did he do as he pleased? Did sin take him down a path that led him to evil, ruling and controlling his actions? And when the people around him didn’t know what to do with the man they took him out to a secluded place and tried tying him up. But the people’s ideas of how a man should be could not control him. He broke the bonds of conformity. He was too wild and out of control for even the Gentile people. This man was rejected and left alone to die. But Jesus, who seems to make a six-mile trip through a stormy sea to meet this man, changes his life. The things that keep men in solitude and rejection come face to face with the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. They know they are in the presence of the one who can do anything about the current situation. A savior who can calm a raging sea and call demons out has an encounter with an unlikely man that changes his life forever. The man went out proclaiming the good news. The “crowd” was afraid. We are a peculiar people. We are different than the crowd, and they are afraid. They fear that they must change when they are face to face with the one who can change their situation. So, they reject the one who can save their souls. How have I changed? Am I still under my inabilities as a man? Am I being bound and trying to conform to what a crowd thinks I should look like? Or am I out proclaiming the good news to a world that will more than likely reject it? But the point is not to win them over but to do it because I love my savior, and I want everyone to find the freedom that I did.
What is my response?
Father, what does my life say? Would I be written about if my life story happened when the bible was being written? Not for my glory but Yours? Do I live a life that has been radically changed since I came face to face with You? I know it’s a process to get my life where I look more like Jesus, which will take a lifetime. But am I getting there? Am I heading in the right direction? What is the right direction? I think it’s a pursuit of You. Not whether I go left or right in my choices as a husband, father, step-father, or leader. It’s whether I look for You when I’m turning. It’s did I talk to You before I start turning. Not that I need to know a direction to turn but that I had the conversation to begin with. Because You are my heavenly father, you love me and want me to spend time with You. You will guide me. I need to trust You. You are capable of taking me through the storms of life. The only requirement is that You are there, not whether you calm the storm or not. You can change my situation, the requirement is not that you will change it, only that I know You are with me. Let my life proclaim that. Let my life proclaim the good news of who You are. And let everyone be amazed. Amen.