Title: A Proper Response
Text: Mark 5.1-20
Introduction: Thank you, Stephen for reading Scripture this morning. For Bible study this morning let me give you a couple of aids…
- Take Notes
- Write down questions you might have to help facilitate the discussion
- Think of OT passages that alluded to or are referenced.
- The goal is to go deeper.
Let’s begin: We’re in the 2nd miracle in this particular passage on the Authority of Jesus. Last week we saw how Jesus exercised his authority over the natural realm (4.35-41). Today, we’ll see his authority over the Spiritual Realm. In subsequent weeks, we’ll look at his authority over the physical realm, and even death.
As we begin today, I’d like to offer a quick summary of what has just been read: In today’s passage, the disciples arrive on the other side of the sea with Jesus in tow. Immediately, as he is getting out of the boat, Jesus is confronted by a demon-possessed man. Mark takes time to tell the readers how dangerous this man has become (1-7). The demon identifies Jesus and Jesus then confronts the demon inside the man. It turns out that there are many demons inside this man, for the demon’s name is Legion (8-9). Added to this, it appears the demons understand their fate is sealed and they beg Jesus to not send them out of the country, but rather into a herd of pigs nearby. He grants their plea. Coming out of the man and entering into the herd, about 2,000 pigs rush down the steep hill and drown in the water below (10-13).
At this point, the herdsmen flee back to their village where they report what has happened. The people come out to personally take in what they’ve heard. When they arrive, they find the man sitting there, clothed and in his right mind. I’m not sure why, whether from fear or anger, but they beg Jesus to leave and he obliges. As he boards the boat, the healed man begs Jesus to allow him to follow along. Jesus, however, refuses the man. And, instead of urging silence, Jesus tells the man to go home and share of the mercy of God in his life. And so he does throughout the whole region of the Decapolis (14-20).
There are certain words that stick out: beg or begged. I find that interesting. For me, this helped shape my message for this morning. Here are my three points:
- The Response of the Gadarene Demoniac to Jesus (1-7)
- The Response of Jesus to the Gadarene Demoniac (6-10)
- The Response of the people to Jesus (14-20)
Transition: let’s begin with this 1st response…
I. The Response of the Gadarene Demoniac to Jesus (1-7)
exp.: I call him the Gadarene Demoniac, because that is the way I learned it. from the KJV; rd v 2; At 1st glance, it appears this man is responding to the arrival of Jesus; however, a closer look reveals that the response is really the demons within this man; What we see here is that Satan has been at work in the life of the Gadarene Demoniac! We see this:
- Possessed by an unclean spirit – a demon
- Living among the dead; this isn’t really a play on words in the original language, as far as I can tell, but it is for us, isn’t it? rd v 3a;
- Driven away by the town’s people because he was mad, and, he could not be restrained; rd 3b-4
- Crying out and Cutting himself; v5; this is something we hear about today; people cut themselves because of the pain they’re in. It’s one of the ways they deal w/ their pain;
ill.: I came across this article this past week and it got my attention: Article in NY Times – First Rise in US Death Rate Surprises Experts. The death rate rose in 2005 because of the flu. It rose a decade before that in 1993 because of AIDS and the flu. It’s rise this past year is troublesome because… “We are not accustomed to seeing death rates increase on a national scale,” said Andrew Fenelon, a researcher at the C.D.C. who did not work on the paper. “We’ve seen increases in mortality for some groups, but it is quite rare to see it for the whole population.” And just what is the reasoning behind these deaths? The US has seen a spike in deaths in three categories:
- Drug Overdose
The article goes on to say that other parts of the world are actually seeing decrees in their death rates, making the US spike even more surprising.
app.: That is what Satan wants: he comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. His purpose and goal remains the same. He was being successful with this man. He seems to be accomplishing his goal in the US, too.
My guess is that this is just where this man is headed, but something happens when he meets Jesus. Look at his next response.
- He saw, he ran, he fell down before him. This word translated fell down is sometimes translated Like in Mt 2.15; Now, whether this is the man or the demons who are in possession of this man, the response is correct. Jas 2.19
t.s.: So we see 1st, the response of the demon-possessed man. Now, look at the response of Jesus to this man…
II. The Response of Jesus to the Gadarene Demoniac (6-13)
exp.: the very 1st thing Jesus says to the man is; rd v 8; immediately Jesus recognizes the work of the devil – so Jesus goes to work right away! Really, this is not cumbersome work for God.
- Legion vs. Christ; A Heavy Weight Fight like Frazier and Ali; Thousands of demons vs. Christ. But really this is No contest. No battle. Jesus doesn’t even need to break a sweat! Something to note:
- Each time we see their encounter in Mark, they accurately identify Christ for who he is.
- When they encounter him, they begin begging (10, 12). Jesus hasn’t fully stepped out of the boat yet and they’re screaming Knowing their fate is sealed… they begin to plead for mercy.
- Jesus asks the unclean spirit his name. Some say this is how you gain mastery over the demon. I don’t know about that. I fear if I did that, they’d say: Jesus we know, Paul we know, But who are you! This would be a great discussion for your class: Is there a difference between demon possession and mental illness. BTW: Jesus heals them both if he desires. And that is just what he does here…
- Christ sets the man free; however, the pigs meet a destructive fate; rd v 12-13;
ill.: This past week there was a story about a little boy who fell into the moat of the Gorilla’s cage. Mr. Maynard, who headed up the emergency response team shot and killed the Gorilla. According to him, he didn’t have a choice. Of course Social Media has got to respond and of course, they’ve condemned the actions of the Zoo. For me, it is simple: animal or child? Child! Scripture is clear on this, too. I know, the kid wasn’t supposed to be down there – he was in the Gorilla’s domain. No, not really. The Gorilla lives in our domain. We’ve been given that responsibility. Some people have condemned the parents. Well, I’m guessing those folks have never been responsible for a three year old! It is amazing how quick a kid can get away from you …
app.: Daniel Akin, president of SEBTS: the event demonstrates that God cares more for man whom He created in His image and recreates in salvation, than he does for animals which do not bear his image. Satan is a murderer of human beings, but Jesus is their Savior.
Before we leave this point, let me say a word about demons:
- They are real. And for that reason, they scare me.
- A demon can possess a person. Here we see many demons possessing one person. Some have raised the question of whether a Christian can be possessed by a demon. A great question to ask your teacher this morning!
- A demon can take control of a person. Here we see them speak; exercise great strength; hurt or injure the possessed and even others.
- Demons are spiritual beings – they are fallen angels. Their goals and purpose are the same as those of their leader, Satan: to kill, to steal and to destroy.
- Demons can move from one body to another. Here we see their transference from a human to animals. Jesus refers to an unclean spirit being swept out of a body and returning with others added.
- Demons resist Christ. In our text, it is immediate. He said come out, but they resist him. He permits them to go into the pigs.
- Demons have no power over Christ. All Jesus needs to do is speak. He speaks and the demons obey. Period.
app.: It appears to me in Revelation, that all things end in a moment. There is fighting, battles, killing. The enemy is doing all he can, and then, boom! It all ends. Jesus just speaks.
t.s: Finally, #3
III. The Response of the People to Jesus (14-20)
exp.: Let’s look at these varied responses:
- The Herdsmen; they fled; they told; they announced or proclaimed; this story is pretty much unbelieveable. So, they gotta go see for themselves;
- The Townspeople; come to see; 15a; they came to see Jesus; and interestingly enough, they see the ‘demon possessed man’; This is how the text reads – present tense; but he’s not demon possessed anymore! Well, this is how the people knew him; similar in Mt – Elizabeth, the barren one, is now in her 6th month; – the one who had had the legion;
- Then they get to hear the story again in v 16; rd v 17; their response: fear! They beg Jesus to leave their region. And, I guess as is his practice when not wanted, he obliges them.
- The Man
- Sitting there – restrained no more – actually, he wasn’t restrained before, but it was for a lack of trying; now he is captured by the love of Christ;
- Clothed – no longer naked; This one surprises me, because we don’t learn from the text that he was naked – that is, until now; Now, we want to focus on Mark, and avoid the other gospels, I was curious to find that Luke does tell us that he wore no clothes in 8.27;
ill.: When I read this, I couldn’t help but think of adam and eve; Gen 3. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. I wonder where they got these clothes? Did the disciples carry them around? Probably. Did they put together something from different sources? But this is the gospel – a changed heart is displayed externally…
- Right mind – I suppose this would be in opposition to living among the tombs, cutting himself and screaming.
- He begs Jesus to let him stay with Jesus.
ill.: This is for me, the most beautiful part of the story. Maybe because I can relate. Oh, I was never as bad off as that man, but I was bad off. I look at who I was and shudder. And now, I only want to be with him. And this is where it is different for me. Christ has ascended to be with the Father and he has poured out his Spirit into my heart. So, I’m not without him.
app.: And you don’t have to be either.
But there is more here; rd v 19-20
- He becomes an evangelist!
Conclusion: Ok, so I’m translating this verse… 19, and it reads this way: and he said to him, ‘Go to your house, to those who are yours… most translations insert friends. There are those who belonged to him. Now, I apply this personally – For me it is my wife, my kids, my grandkids, my mom, mother-in-law; the list goes on.
Who was it for this man? Did he have a wife at home? Children? What about his extended family? What about those who were his friends? What would that reception be like for them – when they thought he was lost forever? And what was it like for him? No longer held captive by Satan, he had been set free. What would he say? Can you imagine the tears of joy for them all?
How? How is this possible? What has happened to you?
I met a man named Jesus. Let me tell you what he has done for me?