Title: A Proper Response
Text: Mark 5.1-20
Introduction: Thank you, John, for reading Scripture this morning.
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 John read: In today’s passage, the disciples arrive on the other side of the sea with Jesus in the boat. 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 are repeated and stick out: tombs; bind, bound, could not be bound; 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 (6-13)
- The Response of the people to Jesus (14-20)
- The People – the herdsmen, the vilagers
- The Man (formerly known as the Gadarene Demoniac
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 in verses 1-5:
- Possessed by an unclean spirit – a demon – in v 2
- 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.: A couple of years ago I came across an interesting article that got my attention: It was a NY Times article about the spike in US Deaths – First Rise in US Death Rate Surprises Experts.
What the article brought out is that every decade or so, we see a spike in the death rate. The death rate rose in 1993 because of AIDS and the flu. In 2005 there was another spike because of an outbreak of the flu. In 2016, it was particularly 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 saw a spike in deaths in three categories:
- Drug Overdose
The article went on to say that other parts of the world were not seeing decrees in their death rates rise, making the US spike even more surprising.
I expect to see results very soon about the spike in deaths over the past 18 months. I’m sure the proponents will say it is COVID’s fault, but I’ve heard stories of an uptick in suicides. But can I just say…
app.: That is what Satan does: he comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. His purpose and goal has always been 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. In verse 6…
- He saw, he ran, he fell down before him. This word translated fell down is sometimes translated worship. 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! Two thoughts: 1) I wish I had that type of spiritual discernment. I tend to be gullible. 2) I said Jesus goes to work right away… really, this is not cumbersome work for God.
- Legion vs. Christ; We might think: this is A Heavy Weight Fight like Frazier and Ali, Like Tyson and Holmes; Thousands of demons vs. Christ. But really this is No contest. No battle. Jesus doesn’t even need to break a sweat! Here is something to note:
- Each time we see a demonic 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 Uncle. Knowing their fate is sealed… they begin to plead for mercy.
- Jesus asks the unclean spirit his name in v9. 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 WEBS: 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 in v 10-13; however, the pigs meet a destructive fate (which again, is their goal, their purpose – to steal, to kill and to destroy! rd v 12-13;
Ill.: every so often we hear about some idiot going to the zoo and climbing into a lion’s den or a gorilla’s habitat for a picture, thinking that those wild animals are really tame. A few years ago, there was a video circulating on social media of a boy that fell into the moat between the observation deck and a certain gorilla’s habitat. The Gorilla moved quickly to the little boy (I think he was like 4 years old) and began to sooth and comfort that little boy who had no idea what was going on. I’m guessing he was knocked out when he hit the water/ground.
The Zoo quickly moved into action and shot and killed the Gorilla. Now, the Gorilla appeared to be no threat, but they didn’t know what the Gorilla would do when they moved in to care for the boy. Man, the outcry from Liberals for that Gorilla was amazing. Not for the boy, mind you, or, for the workers who needed to get to that boy.
app.: Daniel Akin, president of SEBTS says of what Christ does in this passage: 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.
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 from the people:
- The Herdsmen; in v 14… they fled (fugitive); “they told”; they announced or proclaimed; this story is pretty much unbelievable. So, they have got to go and see for themselves;
- The Townspeople; come to see; 15a; they came to see Jesus; and interestingly enough, they see the ‘demon possessed man’;
- This word ‘see’ here, isn’t your typical word for ‘see’. It means more like ‘to gaze upon’; the idea is that they’re standing there with their eyes and their mouths wide open! But, he’s not demon possessed anymore!
- This is a result of what Christ does as he works in the lives of people. We see this in Luke 1, when Elizabeth, who is clearly pregnant is described as the one who was barren. Also, in Acts 9 when Paul got saved and wanted to visit with the disciples. When Ananias was summoned by the Lord to visit Paul, he was like, “Um, Lord, did you know this man is bad?” When Christ changes a heart, it leaves people staring in disbelief! Even now, I’m going to struggle to identify this man to you as I preach. I’ll still call him the Gadarene demoniac. But he isn’t anymore!
- Then they get to hear the story again in v 16; I love it when someone’s life has been so changed, that others tell their story, too. 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, remember he would break the chains; 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 for this man. Did the disciples carry around a change of clothes? Probably. Did they put together something from different sources? Great discussion for Wednesday night!
But this is the gospel – a changed heart is displayed externally…
3. Right mind – I suppose this would be in opposition to living among the dead, sleeping in coffins, cutting himself and screaming.
We see: The response of the people, the herdsman, the people from the village, and 3rdly, the man himself, in v 18-20
- He begs Jesus to let him stay with Jesus. Rd v 18
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. The Texas translation would be “you and yourn”. There are people who belong to him, who are related to him.
Now, I know who my people are. But, who were these poeple 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?
There is a video on YouTube – a testimony about a man, who abused as a child, and grew up with difficult struggles. His name is Walt Heyer. After getting married and raising a family, he transitioned to become a woman – way before it was in style – I’m talking 80’s. But after losing his family and living an alternate lifestyle for a couple of decades, this man met Jesus. He transitioned back – as best he could. He is now a living testament to the work of God in the heart of a sinful man.
And there are many like him. Maybe they don’t want to be the opposite gender, but they want to be someone else – someone who isn’t them, someone who doesn’t hurt so bad, someone who is loved, someone who has friends, someone who…
- When it comes to the spiritual realm verses Jesus, there really is no contest. There is for you and me! But not for Christ.
- I’m not who I used to be. We may still have tags or labels, but when Jesus comes into our life, he changes us!
Question: Might you be someone who is hurting? Maybe you’re wishing you could be someone else? Would you trust Jesus to change you into the man, the woman, the father, the mother, the husband, the wife, the person you were created to be?
- Will you be like this man and go to those who are yours and share with them the tremendous change God has brought into your life? If so, will the change be evident?