Demons - A New Man

February 16, 2014    Mark 5:1-20  A New Man  


       In this passage read for us today we see a person with tremendous power.  Here again we see the influence of the supernatural world on people.  Jesus and his disciples went to the East Side of the Sea of Galilee to Geserenes, which may refer to the town of Gersa, which was mostly populated by Gentiles.  Seemingly Jesus traveled there to meet with this man only because Jesus was asked to leave.     God has an eye on people and God sent Jesus to minister to this man because God loved him.  You can sense a quiet landing on the shore and begin to hear the disruption of the quietness with the screams of this man.  Here is a man who is banished from society who chooses to live in the caves and tombs that are cut into the rock prepared for graves.  There are people today who cut and wound their self.  They are not easy to heal. 

      This man is a dreadful man.     Matthew and Luke say there were 2 men.   Mark refers to one person perhaps he was the lead person.  Matthew writes that they were so violent that no one would pass that way.    He has super human strength of which no one could tame.  I wonder what a meeting of him and Samson would be like.   What do you think?    Often he had been shackled and chained but he would break the chains and the fetters asunder.  One person commented that the Greek uses a lot of negatives to show the raw power of this person.   The indication here is that society tried to tame him or control him but the task was impossible with men.  Metal chains - iron chains would not hold this man.  The physical tried to subdue the spiritual and it did not work.  We wrestle not against flesh and blood.    Sometimes we try to win spiritual battles with physical tools and it will not work.    The physical cannot hold the spiritual.  What would society try to do today for such a person and with what results?   Money or a nice house would not help him and sedating him would not heal him.  A padded room and sedation would protect him from himself and others.  All of our learning and science would not solve this man’s need. 

    Where do you think the disciples were when Jesus met up with this man?    I suspect they gladly let Jesus be out in front.   Jesus you deal with this guy.    I do not think that Peter or any of the other disciples were up front saying let me at him Lord – let me at him.   I’ll take him on.  I certainly would want Jesus to take the lead in any situation like that. 

     Was this man Jewish?   If Jewish would living in the tombs impact him?     How do you suppose that he got demon possessed?   What are open doors for demons today?   Drugs, alcohol, music, movies, and sex outside of marriage of a man and woman can be open doors for demons I believe.  Can demons transfer from one person to another?   Are demons around today?   My first experience was while I was in the Navigators when I was in my early 20’s.   Do you have an experience you would like to share?   How did this guy even eat?   What did he eat?  

    We do not know exactly what life was like for this man but I want to play the part of this man.  Again I would not argue that any particular point is exactly what he experienced.   I am going to call myself Joram.  We do not know his name.    Hi my name is Joram and I lived a long time ago back in the days of Jesus.  My life was terrible.  I was not brought up in a good home and I did not live a good life.   I paid dearly for sins.  I was trouble in school and trouble through my whole life.  I was an outcast of society.  I did not fit in with the normal people.  There was a lot of abuse in my home and in the history of my family.  My dad was not nice and my mom tried to find love where ever she could.   My parents were into idol worship.  They were into witch craft and those things as were my grandparents.  As I grew older I was into rebellion.  I would look for fights.   I loved to mix it up.  I got into some pretty rough stuff as I got older and I could not hold down a job so I lived on the streets – well in the tombs and cemeteries outside of town.   I met another guy like me and we began to hang around with one another.  

    It seemed like in time that my life was just filled with demons and ghosts.   My buddy and I just terrorized everybody that came our way so the folks around got the picture to leave us alone.   Oh at times in the beginning and early years  the town folks tried to chain me up and control me but I would just bust out of those chains and I would beat them up as they ran from me.      Life was real tough and I had a hard time to find food to eat.   I learned how to scavenge off the land but I had some pretty hungry days in my life.   Living in those caves was pretty cold at night especially when the cool months came.   We would sleep in the graves that were cut out of the stone so we could get out of the rain. I would from time to time have a longing eye to be more normal whatever that was.   I knew that men my age would be married and have children.   I could not handle any of that.  I could not work to support a family and no little kid would want to be near me.   My life was hell and anyone around me would experience the same.   I was not a happy camper. 

      The demons I had tormented me.  I would scream out in the night and I wanted to hurt myself.  For that matter I hated God and everybody else.   I did not love myself either.   I did not see anything good in life at all except I got some pleasure out of hurting myself.   At times I totally lost control of myself.   I do not know why I did the things that I did.  As I look at it now I was a pretty pathetic man.  I lived for years like this tormented and suffering.   There was never any real peace and never any real rest.   I knew of no hope. I longed to die.    As far as I knew there would never be any change for me in the future.  

     Then one day a boat came by and my buddy and I went out to check out who had the nerve to come into our territory.   We decided that we were going to give them a little bit of hard time.   But one of the men who got out of the boat was not a normal man.   I figured that out real fast.   This man literally had power over the demons that were in me.   I do not know everything that happened but I learned later that this man was Jesus and Jesus was God.   Those demons knew who Jesus was and they got all excited.    I was told the demons in me went ballistic.   They were always in control and now someone was there who controlled them.   I was told they even spoke through me.   I am so glad for that day.   My life was turned right side up.   I was set free.   I could see and I enjoyed the sun shining that day and my life would never be the same.   I wanted to follow Jesus but Jesus told me to go and share with the people in the area the greeat things that God did for me.  God wanted other folks to hear the good news.  It is good that Jesus had me stay because the town folks ask Jesus to leave.  I can’t believe that they would do such a thing.   How could they ask Jesus to leave?   They were not very smart I would say.  

      They needed to hear about God and what God can do for people so I told them about Jesus.   God sets people free.  Just a few words out of Jesus mouth made all the difference in the world to me.   He spoke and did more than the towns people could do with chains and binders on me.  His words stronger than iron.    Some of those folks that knew me were shocked at what happened to me and they really listened to my story.  It made a real impact on them.   My story had a good ending because of Jesus and I know that God can set you free from any kind of sin or demon control or influence.   No problem in your life is too hard for Jesus.   Jesus is so good.   He is my best friend and forever I will be grateful to him for what he has done for me.   I was set free in just a few minutes with Jesus.   That can happen to you also.  I want that to happen to you.  You are not facing what I faced but everybody needs Jesus.  He is cool – He is my king and my God. 

     How would Christians relate to this man?       How would you and I relate to him?    Most Christians would not seek to evangelize this man.    I do not think he would be on the top of my list for evangelism.       Jesus seeks this demon possessed man out.    No one is too hard for Jesus.     Jesus had compassion on those who suffered from the power of demons and Jesus is the same today.   That should give us who are led by the Lord to minister in situations where demons are troubling others, hope.   And without Jesus we would be as the town’s people who sought to restrain him.  All our striving would be failing.  .  The demons know exactly who Jesus is and Jesus knows exactly who and what is in the man.  In that sense of the word the playing field is now equal.   But the playing field is not equal because Jesus has all power and the demons are out of their league.   Jesus always wins.   To be on Jesus side is to be on the winning side.    Jesus does not tell this man that he did not have to scream and holler in the night.  Just go home and get a job and enjoy your family.  Jesus does not say just deal with it and get over it.     Jesus deals with the demons.    What is your name Jesus asks?  The voice is a man’s voice but it is the demons that speak  

     The demons respond.   My name is legion for we are many.  How many people make a legion?   How many pigs were in the herd?   How many demons do you think was in him?    Each demon brought torment and affliction.  Demons do not add anything good to a person’s life.   Demons torment.     Whatever yearning this man had for Jesus in his human consciousness, we do not know, but the demons react violently at Jesus Christ.  They shriek and recoil in terror of Him of whom they have to deal with.  They respond in terror to the Son of God.  They know that they have lost and what their final state will be.   They bow to his authority.  They know Jesus who has power over their prince and leader Satan.    The greatness of God and Christ’s loftiness and power they recognize, fear, and abhor.   How striking the character of Jesus compared to the demons.    The devils believe and tremble.   The whole bunch of demons tremble at the light seen in Jesus.  The voice that comes from the man shrieks what have you to do with me?  There can really be only one answer and that answer is judgment.  It is not given to the angelic hosts to repent for that is man’s privilege only.   These demons will be judged and punished for the wrong they have done.  When we ponder all of these things and demon’s power it is better to consider them in awe and not flippantly to deny or mock.  Demons are powerful.  Jude speaks of people who slander spiritual beings and speak abusively of them are like unreasoning animals.  In II Peter II Peter likens them to brute beasts.    God tells us to not be involved with demons for our own good.  

      I really do not understand why Jesus let the demons go into the swine.  Jesus cares for animals.   Better the demons in pigs then in a man.   What happened to the demons after the pigs die?    This passage tells us a lot about demons.   Demons have real feelings.    They have desires and they influence people and they influence animals.    These demons were never at peace.   They were meant and made to worship God but they fell from that.     I suspect they experience some form of happiness or pleasure when they afflict men or make men fall.    On the lighter side we could mention deviled ham.  This was real deviled ham.  The about 2,000 pigs could not stand the demons.   How could this man stand them?     Death as quick as possible was what the pigs wanted.   Animals and people were not made for demons.   Demons are foreign to us because we are not made for them.   Demons do not belong in people.    Satan is a thief whose desire is to destroy and torment and to take that which does not belong to him.   

       God expresses concern and knowledge for every sparrow that falls.   God’s overwhelming concern is for the man.   The final scene is one where the man is healed and Jesus is asked to leave.  The pigs show us man’s bent for money.    The pigs show us that man is more interested in business than souls.   The love for money is the root of all evil.    What a horrible thing to be without Jesus.  What a horrible thing to ask Jesus to leave.   This story is a wonderful example of the power of the Son of God.  It teaches us the influence of the unseen world upon men.

       Satan will lose everything some day.  All of his dreams and desires will be taken from him.   From the heights of heaven to the pit of hell he will go.  He will striped of all power and he will be mocked and scorned by the nations.   Jesus said hell was made for the devil and his angels that means there is no repentance or salvation for them.  Never underestimate the destructive power of Satan.  We have no chance and no strength against Satan except through Jesus.  Satan is a roaring lion and the enemy of your soul.  The first couple of chapters in the book of Job show us that Satan influences weather and nature which is another graphic picture of Satan’s destructive power.  God allowed righteous Job to suffer under Satan’s attacks.   This man was in serious trouble and society tired to bind him but could not help him.     Jesus comes to set him free.   The word of God sets him free.  No one is beyond the reach of Jesus.  This story is a picture of the compassion of God for man and the power of God to bless man.   This man becomes clothed and sane and in his right mind.   This man becomes a witness of the power of God.  God uses him to bless other people.  He becomes a man of blessing.  

     Luke tells us that the people ask Jesus to leave because of fear.   I do not know what they were afraid of maybe losing more money.   I am sure that those that lost money from the swine were mad as hornets.    What do you think those swine were worth?  I want to remind you that pigs were forbidden for the Jews.   The man was worth a lot more to Jesus than the value of those swine.   How important and precious are souls to you and me?   Can we get on board with the worth of a human being - a soul that Jesus died for even one who society has given up on?     There is no indication that Jesus ever came back to this area.   Lord leave they said and Jesus left.  

      Joseph Odell.    Rabbi be gone Thy powers bring loss to us and ours.  Our ways are not as thine thou lovest men we love swine.   Oh get thee hence omnipotence! And take this fool of thine!   His soul what care we for his soul?  What good to us that thou has made him whole?  Since we have lost our swine.  And Christ went sadly.   He had wrought for them a sign of love and hope and tenderness divine -- they wanted swine.   Christ stands without your door and gently knocks but if your gold or swine the entrance blocks he forces no mans hold --- he will depart and leave you to the treasures of your heart.  No cumbered chamber will the master share but with one swept bare by cleansing fire then plenished fresh and fair with meekness and humility and prayer there he will come, yet coming, even there he stands and waits and will no entrance win until the latch be lifted from within.