Reading the Word
Mark 5:1–20 (ESV)
1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
Parallel Texts: Matthew 8:28-34; Luke 8:26-39
Understanding and Applying the Word
When Jesus reached the shore he was met by a demoniac. The man was not only possessed, he was possessed by multiple demons. When Jesus asked his name, we are told that the reply was “Legion, for we are many.” We are also told that this man lived among the tombs and no one could bind him because he would just break the shackles.
This seems like a scary situation, but Jesus was not afraid. He was in charge and the demons knew it! When they were face-to-face with Jesus, they did not threaten him, but asked what he was going to do to them. The demon who spoke begged Jesus not to send them out of the country, but to send them into the herd of pigs instead. Jesus did as requested and the demons left the man and entered the pigs. Immediately, the pigs rushed over a bank and drowned in the sea.
The owners of the pigs, evidently not happy about the loss of their property, went to the city and spread the news of what happened. When the people heard the news, they went out to see Jesus. However, they did not go out to praise Jesus for such an amazing thing, but to ask him to leave their region. They did not want Jesus there! The man who had been healed by Jesus wanted to stay with Jesus, but Jesus told him to go tell others what had happened to him, which he did.
Jesus is a polarizing figure. He always has been. When confronted with who he is, there are really only two options: we can run away from him or we can embrace him. When the townspeople were face-to-face with the Son of the Most High God, they feared and wanted nothing to do with him. His presence was overwhelming to them. He was a threat. The man who had been freed from the demons did not see Jesus as a threat, but as his Savior. He did not want to leave Jesus’ side. When you are face-to face with Jesus, will you see him as a threat and one to be feared or will you see him as your Savior and the one you want to be with forever?
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