Jesus Drives Out a Legion of Demons (Mark Sermon 22)
August 21, 2022 | Andrew Davis
Supremacy of Christ, Demons
Pastor Andy Davis preaches on Mark 5:1-20, and an account about a demon-possessed man freed by Jesus. We see that demons may have power over humans, but no chance against God.
- SERMON Transcript -
Turn in your Bibles to Mark chapter 5. This morning we have the joy of resuming our study in this awesome gospel of Mark. We're right in the middle of two spectacular miracles back-to-back, the stilling of the storm at the end of Mark chapter 4 and now the driving out of the legion of demons in Mark 5. I said last time, a couple of months ago now, that the stilling of the storm is the most visually spectacular miracle Jesus ever did. How amazing is it then that immediately after that He does his most spectacular exorcism? That's exactly what this account reveals. There is no other account of an exorcism that even comes close to this one, the driving out of demons from a human being. Nothing else even comes close, just for the magnitude of the power that it reveals and the stunning transformation in one man revealed in Mark's gospel and the effect on the pigs, 2,000 of them perishing in one moment. There's no other power encounter with a demonized human being that even comes close. In terms of preaching, oftentimes at the very beginning of a sermon, a preacher has to speak some words of introduction to ensnare or beguile his congregation into being interested in the text. I don't have to do that this time. I would hope you're interested in what you've heard. I would hope you'd realize that all I need to do as a preacher is get out of the way of the text and just point to the Jesus that it reveals.
Some time ago, I was meditating on the juxtaposition of Mark 4 and Mark 5, the stealing of the storm and the driving out of the Legion demon in Mark's gospel. The way it's written here, it's really astonishing because you could see Jesus at the end of Mark 4 standing on one side of the Sea of Galilee and perhaps in a visionary sense as a prophet, looking ahead to what's about to happen. He has to go through a hurricane and drive out an army of demons in Mark's Gospel to save one man. That's it. He saves that one man and comes back; He goes over and back for one man. And that's encouraging. Some of you are thinking, in Matthew's Gospel, there's two guys. I'm not talking about the two guys today. In Mark's gospel, there's a focus on that one individual. I think we're supposed to understand, in the Galatians 2:20 sense, that Christ loved me and gave himself for me. He did that for me. He was willing to go through a hurricane and drive out an army of demons to save me. So we need to just step aside and let the text do its work in us. And what is that work?
Remember that the theme of the gospel of Mark is stated right from the beginning, Mark 1:1, “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ”, the Son of God, that's the theme, Jesus as the Son of God. In the spirit of the Gospel of John, as I've said many times, actually all four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, they all have this same purpose, though only John's Gospel says it so openly and directly. “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in his name.” That's the purpose of the Gospel of John, and it's also the purpose of the Gospel of Mark: to bring you to the point where you can confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed one, the Promised one. That He is more than just that, the Son of the living God, and that by confessing that from your heart, you might receive full forgiveness of sins and live forever in heaven and not die forever in hell. That's the reason this Gospel of Mark was written, and that's the purpose of all of the accounts in it. Not only that, not just that we would be able to make in a slogan sort of sense, “Who is Jesus? the Son of God.” That phrase, that we would have expounded before us, really means the infinite majesty of the second person of the Trinity, the infinite majesty of Jesus. It means that we'll be spending eternity finding out how glorious and majestic Jesus is. We've only just begun the greatness of Jesus, the Son of God. That's what we have before us. It's not enough to just have the slogan, “Who's Jesus? Son of God.” Remember how, when on the way to the villages around Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked, “Who do people say I am?” and Peter replied, “You are the Messiah,” and then a few minutes later he's taking Jesus aside and rebuking him. Now that's a bad look, friends. Peter was underestimating Jesus, the Son of God, all of us do. The ministry of the word through the power of the Spirit is to get us not to underestimate Jesus and to see the infinite greatness of Christ. The infinite greatness of Jesus is what we're seeing here. The effortless power that Jesus has, that He displays here, power that only almighty God could have, effortless stilling of a hurricane and the turbulent sea immediately after that, effortless, just a word and it's done. And then effortless power over 6,000 demons, saying in Matthew's gospel, a single word, "Go," and they're gone. No effort at all, they instantly obey.
"The ministry of the word through the power of the Spirit is to get us not to underestimate Jesus and to see the infinite greatness of Christ. "
Sadly in the account that we're studying today, we also see mixed reaction. We see many who saw the effects, even the miracle with their own eyes, and responded in faithless fear, driving Jesus away because they didn't want the implications of what it would mean to have Jesus in their region. The unreasoning unbelief was so strong they would rather have, it seems in the end, this demon-possessed, stark-raving homicidal maniac in their region, rather than Jesus, peaceful Jesus, loving Jesus staying in their region. The gospels all make it clear that many people will see the evidence for Jesus and reject. It ends up dividing people into two categories.
I. A Demon-Possessed Maniac Terrorizes a Region
Let's walk through the text now. It begins with a demon-possessed maniac who terrorizes a region. What is the context? Jesus and his disciples had left the huge crowds to get away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Perhaps the disciples thought a time of R&R was coming, a little bit of relaxation, getting away from all of that. Little did they know what was awaiting them as they got into the boat, this raging hurricane in which they thought they were going to die. Then once that's done, as they land on the other side, they're confronted by a demon-possessed maniac of terrifying power. Look at verse 1-2, “They went across the sea to the region of the Gerasenes” and verse 2, “when Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him.” The region of the Gerasenes or Gadarenes, a little village near there was called Gerasa from which we get Mark's term, Gerasenes. There's a larger city nearby called Gadara, which also gave its name to the region, Gadarene. That's why you end up with two different names in the gospel. The demon-possessed maniac is described in verse 2 as “a man with an unclean spirit”. This is a demon, an unclean spirit is a demon. Demons are angels, spirit beings that rebelled long ago with Satan and were evicted from heaven as described in Revelation 12. They're called unclean because their thoughts and their works were pure evil.
The encounter begins with Jesus and his disciples getting out of the boat. The demon-possessed man sees them from a distance and comes from the tombs down to the shoreline. This man is an absolute monster. His human personality has been swallowed alive by the demons inside him. Look at verse 3 through 5, the description of his plight. This man lived in the tombs and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been chained hand in foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills, he would cry out and cut himself with stones. I believe those words describe the most wretched human being on the surface of the earth in history. I can't imagine a more wretched condition to be in than this, worse than Nebuchadnezzar turned into an animal for seven years eating grass, worse than any tortured individual in a prison, worse than anyone suffering from a malady. This is the most wretched human being ever described in the pages of history, I believe. Look at the text, it says he lived in the tombs. No one in their right mind would live out in the tombs of dead people. These are often caves blocked up with boulders or big stones. At best, they would offer rudimentary protection from the elements, they would be cold, they would be dark, they would be hard, no place in which to live. This man is absolutely severed from all human society. He has a family as we see at the end of the account, but his condition has cut himself off from all interactions with them. It says no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain.The account gives a sense of history with this man. He had originally been bound, or actually many times been bound with chains and even shackles, maybe fetters or manacles, large flat pieces of iron that would be heated up and then pounded by a blacksmith into curved pieces to fit around his wrists or his ankles. The chains would have large strong links in them, sizable links to restrain a powerful man, but this man had broken every chain ever put on him and shattered every shackle, verse 4, “for he had often been chained hand and foot,” but he tore the chains apart, he broke the irons on his feet.
Demons gave this man supernatural power. They are vastly more powerful than we people are, physically. They can do amazing physical things. Remember at the resurrection account after Jesus had risen from the dead and the tomb was empty, a single angel came down and rolled back the boulder that was in front of Jesus's tomb and sat on it. So imagine the kind of supernatural power these evil angels give this man. It says no one could bind him anymore, in verse 4, “no one was strong enough to subdue him.” The Greek word here means “to tame” as if he's a wild beast. This implies many efforts to take this man down, perhaps four or five grown men, or more trying to work with this guy. One grabbing an arm, another grabbing another arm, one grabbing a leg, the other maybe coming up behind him and hitting him on the head to knock him unconscious so they could put the chains on him. It's horrible the circumstance here. Then once he's conscious again, if that's indeed what they did, he then in a rage, tears them off and they're all running for the hills. Finally, the people in that region had given up. He's not chained now. There's nothing they can do. They just stayed away from that area. His lifestyle is stunningly sad. It's a human being created in the image of God, but he's rendered to an almost animal-like existence. Luke tells us that he had, for a long time, gone without clothing. He didn't wear any clothing. He was naked with no shame at all like an animal. But furthermore, he rarely slept and he was immersed in self-harm, verse 5, “night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones,” roaming restlessly as demons do, seeking rest but not finding it, yearning for rest, going from tomb to tomb, from hill to hill night and day, crying out as if for deliverance. But who could ever set this man free? The most wretched human being I think in history. He is terrorizing that region.
II. The Son of God Terrorizes the Demons
Point two, then the Son of God comes to terrorize the demons. That's pretty exciting, isn't it? Now who's afraid of who here? The encounter with Jesus is initiated, this demon-possessed monster sees people landing from a distance and comes down to the shoreline, and what he did is really astonishing. Look at verse 6, “when he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.” Now here's the fascinating thing. The more you study this, the more amazing this gets. These terrified demons, and they are terrified, we're going to make that case plainly in the scripture, they are afraid of Jesus, but instead of running away from him of whom they are terrified, they run to him to get closer to him, that's counterintuitive. Why are the demons running to Jesus? Do they want an encounter with Jesus? Oh no, not at all. They are pure darkness, he is pure light. They hate him with every fiber of their being. They do not want to be near pure light, they who are pure darkness. Why then are they coming closer? Furthermore, they make the man fall down on his knees in a display of humble submission, even of worship before Jesus.
Think about that text that says “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess.” So that's what these demons are doing, falling down in front of Jesus. Why do they draw near? It's very obvious, they know exactly who Jesus is. Verse 7, “he shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the most high God?’” They are terrified of him, and yet they run toward him. This is my theory on why. What else can they do? They understand Jesus's power in ways we don't. They understand omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence in ways we don't. And the demons understood, Psalm 1:39, “Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I go down to the depths, you are there.” Or again, as God says about his enemies in Amos 9:1-4, these are physical human enemies, but we can apply it here to demons as well, Amos 9, this is God speaking about his enemies, "Not one will get away. None will escape. Though they dig into the depths of the grave, from there my hand will take them. Though they climb up to the heavens, from there I will bring them down. Though they hide themselves at the top of Carmel, there I'll hunt them down and seize them. Though they hide from me at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent to bite them. Though they are driven into exile by their enemies, there I will command the sword to slay them. I will fix my eyes upon them for evil and not for good."
Oh, it is a dreadful thing to have God as your enemy. Where can you go? There is nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide for these demons, and they know it in ways we don't. So they come to Jesus and in Mark 7, He drives out the demon of the Syrophoenician, the Canaanite woman from her daughter, and the daughter is not even there, and Jesus says to this Syrophoenician woman, "You may go home. The demon has left your daughter." "When did that happen?" "Oh, a second ago." "You didn't even go, you didn't lay hands on her." "Not needed." "You didn't say anything." "Not needed. I just thought it." And the demon got its eviction notice. That's the power of Jesus and the demons know it.
"It is a dreadful thing to have God as your enemy. Where can you go? There is nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide for these demons, and they know it in ways we don't. "
They come toward Jesus because they have a request to make of him. The demons come to Jesus, making the man shout at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the most high God?" The demons are utterly unruly, they frequently make their human hosts scream or shriek or foam at the mouth. This one's shouting at the top of his voice, clearly they are terrified of Jesus. The reason for the terror is they did not understand Jesus, the Son of God, the incarnate Son of God invading their dark realm. They literally say, "What business have we with each other, son of the most high God? What business do we have? What are you here to do?" The reason for their terror is the power of almighty God and of his perfect and holy son, Jesus. Now you have to understand, demons have very accurate theology. They got the theological stuff right, better than us. James 2:19 says, “You believe that there's one God, good, even the demons believe that, and they shudder.” They get all the facts right, but they're just in an absolute wrong relationship with the God behind the facts. They hate him, but they know the truth about him. And furthermore, demons know their future. Matthew 25:41, “Jesus, the judge of all the earth, the judge of heaven and earth will say to the goats, ‘Depart from me you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” The lake of fire was made for Satan and demons, and that's where they're going, and there's no salvation plan for them. Also, in Revelation 12:12, the devil is filled with fury because he knows that his time is short. We must imagine the demons know this, but now Jesus, in his incarnation and now in his public ministries which have been going on a year or two, this assault of the son of God on their earthly territory is unprecedented. For all redemptive history, demons have been operating in secret, in the darkness, in the shadows of the spiritual realm, doing absolutely whatever they wanted to make life utterly miserable for human beings and to fight against God at every point. That's what demons do and they're still doing it today.
But now Jesus has invaded, the Son of God, the Son of Light, pure light, into this realm of darkness and they're terrified. They want to know, what is the purpose? They want to know about timing. In Matthew 8:29, the demon says, "What do you want with us, son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?" They are well aware that there's a pit of torture ready now, before they even get to the lake of fire, there is a place of demon incarceration, short of the lake of fire. As far as I read scripture, there are no demons now in the lake of fires, a not-yet situation. Most of the demons are roaming and causing trouble in a hidden way on earth, but there are some that are incarcerated. They've been arrested by the power of God. It says in Luke 8:31, in the same account, they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the “abyss.” It's a Greek word, meaning “bottomless.” It's a pit. But the demons in Matthew 8:29 speak of torture, of torture in the pit, as does our text. Look at verse 7, “Swear to God that you won't torture me.” Do you see now the fear that demons have of him? They are afraid of incarceration and torture now, right now, and they don't want it. They're afraid of it, so they come to Jesus to make this request of him. This torture implies demonic agony of which they're clearly terrified. Peter speaks in his epistle of a temporary place of restraint and torture for demons, [2 Peter 2:4]. God didn't spare angels who sin but threw them down into “Tartarus” that's the Greek word there for “the pit” and delivered them to be kept in chains of darkness until judgment. Those chains cannot break, they're restrained and held. They're very aware that Jesus can instantly do this to them at any moment. He has overwhelming power over all demons. The demons are also afraid of losing their jurisdiction. Look at verse 10, “He begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.” Not only do they not want to lose their freedom, but they want to stay right there in their area. They've got a geographical area that they're working. The Greek says that they're begging him earnestly, or again and again, they're pleading with Jesus because they want to stay there. This demon-possessed man is the greatest nightmare of that entire region, a murderous, powerful maniac who threatens them all. But it is also clear that the Son of the most high God is the demon's greatest nightmare, if we could use that language. They are terrified. They are as terrified of Jesus as that region would've been terrified of that man.
III. The Son of God Drives Out the Legion
Third point, the Son of God drives out the Legion. Jesus commands him to leave and he will soon. He doesn't leave immediately, but in verse 8 it says, “Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you evil spirit.’” I think He stated his intention, "I'm going to drive you out," but they're going to have this conversation first, and Jesus wants to have that conversation with him. He demands the demon's name [verse 9]. “Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘My name is Legion,’ he replied, ‘For we are many.’” The demons have no desire to reveal anything about themselves, they want to stay hidden. They want to stay in the darkness just like these days. They don't want to reveal anything, but they have no choice. When Jesus says, "What is your name?" They must give it, they must answer his questions, so He demands their name. Angels have names, we know two of them in the Bible, Michael and Gabriel. Demons must have names as well, but here they use a human term, “legion”. And the reason they gave is, "We are many." Legion was a division of the Roman Empire's world-conquering army, a little bit larger than a modern day brigade, which would be about 3,000 soldiers. A legion is about 5,000 to 6,000 Roman soldiers. They had conquered that part of the world. So first of all, it shows theologically multiple demons can inhabit one person. We get that from this, but it also shows something of the demon's personality and mind. Though the demons might ordinarily have been boastful about their cumulative might, they would never have dreamed of boasting in front of Jesus. We are mighty and we are powerful, they're saying, but they're not doing that in front of Jesus, no way.
I want you to picture the spectacle in the spiritual realm, the spectacle of Jesus against an army of demons. In 1960, there was a movie called Spartacus, which was about a slave revolt in the Roman era, and the climactic scene is a battle between the slave army and multiple, multiple Roman Legions. It's really quite a spectacular scene over a wide field. You get a sense of the machine-like efficiency of the Roman legions as they come down in formation and then quickly spread out into battle line and come relentlessly toward the slave army. You know as you're looking, you're going to lose. There's no way you can defeat the legions, they're just that powerful. But picture that, all that's unfolding and one man goes out across the field by himself with no weapons in his hand, and that man is Jesus. As he takes a stand and raises his hand and says, "Begone," they turn and drop their weapons and flee and He's left alone on the battlefield. That's the picture I get. If you didn't see that movie," don't worry about it, just know that it’s a massive army, one man goes forward, and who's afraid of whom.
Again, just like the storm, do you not see effortless power? Effortless, that's what we've got. The demons come, they throw themselves in front of Jesus and they make this request, a demonic request. [Verses 11-12], “A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside, the demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs, allow us to go into them.’” So I would say this clearly shows this is a gentile dominated region. No Jews would be raising pigs, because it was unclean for them to eat. These pig herders are there looking at this and this huge herd of pigs is there, 2,000 in number. The demons continue their begging, their pleading, their groveling to Jesus. In Matthew's Gospel, as I mentioned, it's a single word. Go to Matthew's account, in Matthew 8, you're going to see in the middle of a bunch of black letters, if you have a red letter edition, you're going to see one red 2 letter word. It's all Jesus says in Matthew's account, "Go,” and they go."Go,” and they're gone. One word. It reminds me of Luther's A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. "The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him. His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him. That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth.” That's the power of Jesus's word. When He says go, they've got to go. Awesome. That's the supreme power of Jesus Christ. He draws out the name Legion so that we can be amazed, because we can't see it. You can't see the demons, but you have a sense of what Legion means.
What happens next is a display of the power as well—the death of the pigs [verse 13]. He gave them permission and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about 2,000 in number, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and were drowned. This is to show visibly the scope of the demonic defeat, to make it obvious in the physical realm what Jesus was dealing with here, the death of the pigs, the sheer destructiveness of these demons. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” That's what these demons do. Some of you have sympathy for the animal owners there, the pig farmers who look like they lost all of that, they didn't lose anything. The harvest came early. They went pig fishing. That's kind of an interesting thing when you think about it. I know the text doesn't say they went pig fishing, but if you're the owner of the pigs, the market price is going to be a little low because there's a big influx of pig meat, but they’ll be fine. So don't think that way economically, et cetera. But again, it wasn't Jesus that destroyed the pigs, it was the demons.
Now here's the question, a very significant question. Why does he give permission to the demons to do what they want to do? Why doesn't he send them into the pit? Why doesn't he incarcerate them? We bumped into the same question in the Book of Job, if you remember, why does he allow the demons to roam? Why does he allow them to do damage? It's vital for us to understand what Satan reveals in the Book of Job, that hedge of protection. I look on it as a whole matrix, like a maze of walls of protection that they can't go through. God is controlling the demonic activities, and they're running rough shot where they're permitted to run, and then mysteriously, some gate opens and they flood in like a plague of locusts and do the damage, and then suddenly the gate comes down and they're stopped and that's it. That's what's going on every day by the mysterious purpose of God. They are God's lackeys, though they are not trying to serve God, they are doing his will in some very complex way. When we get to heaven, we'll understand why God let the demons do what they do, et cetera, but that's it. Don't think for a moment it's because he couldn't have stopped them. He could have collected all of the demons in an instant, they'd be in the lake of fire now, but He's using them for his own mysterious purposes. When the time is right, He will send out his angels and they will collect all the demons and they will be in the lake of fire, and there'll be no escape.
IV. Two Opposite Human Responses
Fourth point, two opposite human responses. The report spreads in the Gadarenes, and the people rejected Jesus. Look at verses 14-17, “Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the Legion of demons sitting there dressed and in his right mind and they were afraid. They were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.” This is tragic. Instead of, as they should have done, falling in front of Jesus in wonder and worship, and say as the Philippian jailer said in Act 16, “What must I do to be saved?”, instead they beg him to leave. I suppose it's the same terror that comes on people who really don't understand Jesus's goodness, they're afraid of what he's going to do in their lives, they're afraid of becoming Christians because they don't know what is going to happen. They're afraid, and they drive him out, they don't want him. They're just afraid because they don't understand his goodness. You see how meek and mild Jesus is, He just accedes to their wishes. "Okay, I'll leave." He walks away and gets back in the boat. We need to understand the infinite power of Jesus, but also the incredible gentleness, as we sang earlier, "Come into me, come into me." That's him. He's so gentle. I don't think you ever get a better text juxtaposing the infinite power of Jesus and his gentleness as in Isaiah 40, which talks about how He has all of the stars in the palm of his hand, this kind of thing, the infinite majesty, the nations are a drop in the bucket and dust on the scales and all that. But right in the middle of that, Isaiah 40:11, “He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. He gently leads those that have young.” That's who Jesus is. Why do they want him to leave?
Along with that, we get the previously possessed man, and he has the exact opposite response. He doesn't ever want to leave Jesus again. He wants to be by Jesus's side forever, forever. Look at verse 18-20, “But as Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him but said, ‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.’” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and all the people were amazed. This formerly demon-possessed man's a different story altogether, isn't he? I believe more things happened than is recorded here. I think once the demons were out, Jesus preached the gospel to him, explained to him about the kingdom of God, the need for repentance so that his sins could be forgiven, and the man listened and believed. The text says in verse 15 that, “they saw him there dressed in his right mind.” Isn't that beautiful? It's kind of like the prodigal son coming to himself. It's like, "What am I doing here? Slopping pigs when I could be in my father's house." This man comes to his right mind, and again, supports that therapeutic view of salvation. He saves you by healing you, healing your mind so that you can see Jesus properly, you can see his beauty and his power and his love and you want him. He's dressed in his right mind, his sins are covered, that's a metaphor, the “dressing”. I think it's just an account, he's dressed now, he's not naked, but also the covering. His sins are forgiven and he's in his right mind and wants to be with Jesus forever. He sees Jesus properly, he loves him, he cherishes him. All he wants is to know him and be with him. He pleads with Jesus to stay with him.
"He saves you by ... healing mind so that you can see Jesus properly, you can see his beauty and his power and his love."
Now, three entities plead with Jesus for something. The demons begged to not be driven out of the area and stay in the area and go in the pigs. The unbelieving people asked Jesus to leave their area, and He does it. This man says, "I want to go with you." He says no. Isn't it true that God's ways are not our ways? But instead he has a mission for this man. He sends him out with a mission to do, verse 19, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you." “Go win your family. You kind of put them through a hard time. Now go home and show them that you've been healed and win them. Tell your family how God has had mercy on you, how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.” I wonder what that was like when he walked through the threshold the first time, it's like, "Uh-oh, here comes trouble." "No, no, I'm different now." His job is to tell them the mercy of Jesus in his life and to win them. So it says in verse 20, “The man went away and began to tell the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him and all the people were amazed.” The Decapolis just literally means 10 cities, it's just a region there of 10 cities together. Apparently this man was effective because Jesus is going to return to the Decapolis in Mark 7:31 and there'll be many people waiting there for him to do healings. It's the fruit of this man's ministry. What a testimony this man must have had. I don't know how it began. How would you begin? "I used to be a demon-possessed raving maniac. And now I'm not. Now I'm healed." Imagine the joy of talking about Jesus that he must have had.
What are some lessons and applications? First of all, I just want to ask you a question: Do you think demons are less active in our world than they were in Jesus' world? I hope you're saying no, because if you're saying no, you don't understand how much they have deceived you. They're every bit as active now as they ever were then. We Americans are naturalists, materialists, and I don't mean by that shopaholics, I mean we tend to think of things in a scientific material way. We tend to think of stories about demons and angels as a little weird, almost medieval. We definitely believe in the most high God, and then we believe in science, and we don't tend to do much in that middle realm with angels and demons, but they are every bit as active in 21st century America as they were in first century Palestine. They are deceptive and they're powerful, and they are around us at every moment. We need to be aware of them and understand the destructive power of demons. They are there to steal and kill and destroy. I wonder how many of the convicted serial killers or individuals that are incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals or asylums or prisons, I wonder if anyone is diagnosing them based on this. Or are they trying to get the chemical balances right and talk about their childhood or do other things? I’m not minimizing those sciences, but I'm just saying, is there a whole realm of possibility that's unthinkable in 21st-century treatment of individuals like this? For us Christians, let it not be so. We need to be aware that they're around and they're trying to make our lives miserable. We need to say then that demons are every bit as active. They're still here. They're still powerful. They still hate us, et cetera, but they're still terrified of Jesus. They are terrified of him. His power is infinite. He is far above all rule and authority, power and dominion. They are controlled by him, channeled by him. Hedges of protection and walls of protection everywhere, or else they'd run amok on the surface of the earth.
We need to be thankful. We need to be aware of how demons could be assaulting you, annoying you, irritating you, making you susceptible to sin, alluring you, feeding you with depression, feeding you with hopelessness, feeding you with ideas of ways of acting out on the flesh. Put on your spiritual armor. Put it on every day, every moment. Be mindful, be not unaware of his schemes. Beyond that, see that the real issue here is worship Christ. Worship of Jesus. The name that is above every name, worship him, have a sense of his infinite power. Just fall down before him, not like this demon-possessed man did an abject terror, but fall down before him because you love him and want to tell him how much you love him for dying for you and rising again.
Finally, what reaction do you have to the Jesus in this account? Like this healed man, do you want to spend the rest of your life with him? Do you want to spend eternity learning him? I do. Friends, it is the greatest honor of my life to stand up in front of you week after week and exalt Jesus. There's nothing in my life with more honor than that. I hope that your esteem of Jesus has gone up because we studied Mark 5:1-20 today. So I'm asking you, is that you? Do you love him? Do you know you're a sinner? His bloodshed for you is sufficient for your sins, are you trusting in that? Or like these townspeople, do you want him to go away? Just leave you alone? That's the question you have to ask. Use your testimony with your family. I want to tell my family how much Jesus has done for me and how He has been kind to me. Can I tell you what the Lord has done for me and how He has had mercy? I mean what a great phrase, “what He has done for me and how He has had mercy. I mean He could have mercy on you too.”
Close with me in prayer. Lord, thank you for the time we've had to study in Mark 5:1-20. Thank you for what the text shows us about your infinite power and thank you for your kindness to us, weak sinners. I thank you for your gentleness and meekness and humbly acceding to the wishes of unbelieving townspeople who want you to leave. But I thank you for your wisdom in sending this single man out in Mark's gospel, this single man to go win his family. Lord, give us opportunities to share the gospel this week, help us to be bold, perhaps even tell this story and see what people think. But Lord give us opportunities to win the lost in Jesus name. Amen.