In his classic fable The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis provides a glimpse into the strategies of Satan’s demons. An older and wiser demon named Screwtape is mentoring the younger Wormwood. In his preface to the imaginary correspondence, Lewis writes, there are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight. (Lewis, Screwtape, 3)
Lewis is right, and the human race has fallen into both errors. The materialists of the “Age of Reason” or Enlightenment were fooled into disbelieving in the existence of demons or any spirit beings. New ageism and postmodern mysticism have been enamored with angels, demons, and spirits beyond this world. Beginning in 1969 with Rosemary’s Baby and in 1973 with The Exorcist, Americans have been engaged in a peculiar fascination with the occult and the demonic. Simply surveying Hollywood since then reveals this trend: Hostage to the Devil (1976); The Omen (1976); The Possessed (1977); Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977); The Entity (1982); My Demon Lover (1987); The Blair Witch Project (1999); Bedazzled (2000); The Little Vampire (2000). Likewise, television series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, and Touched by an Angel are ever before us. Add to this the hotly debated issues of SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse) and Halloween, and you have a significant element of our culture awash in spiritism and the occult.
We need a good dose of biblical balance and sanity. Mark 5 provides an excellent starting point. Yes, Jesus believed demons were real, and that should settle for all of us the question of their existence. Yet beyond this fact, we see in our Lord’s encounter with the Gerasene demoniac the power, mercy, and authority of the Son of God, who commands the demon with merely a word. In this text we will see the purpose of Satan to destroy and the power of the Savior to deliver. Whether it is a demonic man (5:1-20), a diseased woman (5:24-34), or a dead little girl (5:21-43), Jesus has the power to save.
So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from a cemetery to meet him. This man lived among the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.
1. The destructive force of demons. "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." (Mark 5:1,2)
This was an eerie event. “Immediately there came to him a man out of tombs” imagine the scene.
b. In chapter 4:35, 37 It was a stormy night. (v.1-2)The boats pulled up on shore right in the midst of a seashore graveyard and immediately a wild acting man came running out from among the tombs. Could you imagine the disciple’s state of mind, they were still in the process of figuring out who JESUS is, they were terrified and awed by what happen out on the sea. Then this wild man came out from the tombs running towards them surely they wanted to run in the opposite direction out of terrifying gripping fear.
2. Mark gives a detailed description of the wretched condition of this man. Mark 5:2-5
When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from a cemetery to meet him. This man lived among the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.
d. (v.5)The man lived among the tombs. These were lofty, vault-like tombs, hewn out of the limestone hills The evil spirit caused the man to dwell in the darkest, most eerie place imaginable, and living in the dark and eeriness aggravated his condition. He represents the man who loves darkness because his deeds are evil. (John 3:19)
(vss. 3-4) The man was uncontrollable, unrestrained, untamed, wild, mad, violent tempered, often possessing super-human strength. All human efforts to help him had failed. He could not be helped, nor controlled, nor tamed. He represents the uncontrollable evil or depravity of man and the helplessness of man to deliver or save himself.
The man was naked (cp. Mark 5:15), stripped of all decency and all acceptable and righteous behavior. He represents the old man who stands naked before the eyes of God and who desperately needs to be clothed with the righteousness of God and with the garments of the new man.
When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!”
1. Who recognized Jesus was it the man or the demon?
2.Notice that the demon recognized Jesus as the Son of the most High God. The man had no knowledge that Jesus was the Son of God he was under the strong influence of the demon. But we also notice the demon begged not to be sent to hell. Jesus never sends no man to hell- not in this life, not while still living.
a. Scripture teaches four facts about the devil and his angels (messengers, demons, evil spirits) that should always be kept in mind.
i.They believe there is One God and they tremble (James 2:19). ii. They have nothing to do with Jesus; that is, their nature is entirely different from the clean spirit of Jesus. Evil and evil spirits are diametrically opposed to the purity and holiness of Jesus. iii.The Son of God has come to destroy the works of the devil. All evil and evil spirits are to be destroyed (1 John 3:8; cp. Hebrews 2:14-15). iv.They are doomed to everlasting torment (see Deeper Study #3, Everlasting Fire—Matthew 25:41). v.All of these facts were involved in the behavior of the demon possessed man. The evil spirit was trembling before the Son of God. He cried out, "What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of...God?" He was stricken with the purity and the holiness of Jesus. He was forced to bow in reverence and to beg Jesus not to doom him—not yet. Note something: the evil spirit knew that Jesus had come to destroy evil. He knew that Jesus was going to cast him out and free the man, despite the man's utter, hopeless depravity. How marvelous the love and power of Jesus, that He frees even the most defiled!
You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.
But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.
Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.
For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.” Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place. There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.” So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
a.5:8-13 The demon possessed man was cleansed by the authority of Jesus. Demons were fully aware of the power of the Son of God and were unable to resist Him. They had no choice but to leave their human victim. “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” In the process of casting out the demon Jesus paused and ask for the demons name. “What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” Legion is a military designation used to identify groups of soldiers. At that time a Roman legion was around 6,000 soldiers, demonstrating how many demons were in this man. Jesus demanded the name of these demons for one simple reason: to demonstrate the extent of His power over the realm of Satan. He not only had the authority to cast out a solitary demon but even an entire horde. Fallen angels, whether they numbered few or many, were under the control of His will and incomparable power.
b. The spokesman for the demons, after divulging their name, began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Luke 8:31 adds, “They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.” Jesus could have exiled them to any place He chose this was not a sign of compromise nor compassion toward these evil spirits. The Lord Jesus had another purpose for them to fulfill, and so He gave them permission to enter the swine. As powerful as they are, Satan and his demonic forces can do nothing outside of what God either commands or permits them to do ce He wanted. Their desire was to stay in that Gentile region, evidently to continue operating in and through the local culture and pagan religious practices.
The LORD has made everything for his own purposes, even the wicked for a day of disaster.
I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things.
The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.
a. Look at the response of the towns people, you would think seeing the miraclous deliverance of a crazy man should have brought joy, relief and worship to this community. Just the opposite took place they were filled with utter fear just like wthe disciples were in the boat.
b.Their fear of the demon possessed man was gone but in its place was the terrifying dread that accompies a recognition of being in the presence of God, who has power over spiritual beings. The disciples were more frightened by Jesus after the storm because they also have been in the presence of God. So the towns people begged Jesus to leave their town.
And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone. As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.
a. The towns reaction is a good illustration of the power of unbelief. The miracle of Jesus did not lead them to faith in Him as Lord and Messiah .As Voltaire said that if he and one thousand men in Paris saw a miracle before their very eyes he would rather disbelieve his eyes and the eyes of the one thousand than to believe in the miracles.
b. No one in the crowd could deny the fact of Jesus divine power, nor could they deny the transformation of the former demonic. Yet in the face of undeniable evidence their hearts were cold and unresponsive. Confronted with the presence of God the Son a they pleaded Jesus to leave .
c. Notice the contrast between the towns people and the delivered man. It was night verses day from unbelief by the towns people to totally committed to follow Jesus by the delivered man. The delivered man didn't want to live another day without Jesus, he had been tranformed renewed by Jesus. It brings back the story of the sower and his sowing on good ground it produced a harvest of 30,60, 100 fold. He was solid in faith and desired to join Jesus. But what was Jesus response to the man? Mark 5:19
But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.”
b. Mark 7:53-57 The obedience of one man planted the seed of the Gospel and the results where awesome.
1. When they arrived back to Gennesaret people recognized Jesus, the poeple where not telling him to leave rather they ran to Him. (53-54)
2. The people brought more people to be healed. (55-56)
3. The people instead of begging him to leave they were begging him to let them touch the hem of his cloak. (56)