"In today’s passage, in Mark chapter 5 verse 1 – 20 we learn that Jesus has authority and power over the kingdom of darkness. Jesus sets a man who had an unclean spirit free. Prior to his deliverance the man was uncontrollable and nobody could subdue him because of his great strength. After his deliverance the man sat calmly and in his right mind. Jesus has the authority and power to set all those who are bound by evil free. Those Jesus sets free he transforms completely." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)
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. 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 a difficult passage to relate to for me. I have never experienced anyone who I could say was possessed by an evil spirit. Perhaps I have come across someone who was but didn't know it, I don't know. It is not hard for me to zero in on a few in history that I could believe were possessed ... like Hitler, perhaps Stalin. I have heard a few second hand stories about demons, but never had a personal experience with a demon or a person possessed with one. Consequently I struggled with this passage. Not that I don't believe there are evil spirits, for it is in the Word of God for a reason, but I simply have not had an experience that gives me any perspective on Evil present in this form.
Tracy Groot has written a book based on this account of the demon possessed man. It looks interesting. It is on my reading list. Maybe over vacation this summer. Here is a video trailer of the book.
The thing that did eventually jump out at me after reading the account several times was Jesus being asked to leave. The people of the nearby city and countryside after seeing or hearing what happened to the demon possessed man, ask Jesus to leave them alone. They witnessed or heard about Jesus scaring away thousands of demons from one man that had terrorized them for years and now was perfectly sane. And what was there response "please leave our region", "leave us alone", "go away".
It says they were afraid. The power of Jesus was on full display. Even the demons recognized his power immediately and pleaded with Jesus for survival. It also says that the people were all aware of the 2000 pigs that had just been destroyed by the evil spirits. They may have been afraid of the power displayed. Perhaps they had become comfortable with the Evil as it expressed itself through the possessed man. They could ignore the evil and just go on with life. I don't know but I think ultimately they were more afraid of losing pigs. Yes all that profit was wasted. They didn't care that a man's life had just been redeemed from the Evil One. They just didn't want to lose any more pigs. Not hard to imagine a modern day version of this account.
Jesus didn't resist their request. He left but not before encouraging the redeemed man to tell everyone what had happened. Jesus knew that the facts of the story would change peoples hearts. This account is proof that God is more powerful than evil. The man did tell his story and we read that people were amazed. Perhaps this amazement led to a desire to know the God with this power.
I am working through the E100 Bible Reading Challenge again. You can learn more about my journey and read the other posts completed so far at this link. I encourage you to stop back soon to read another passage.
Please share your own thoughts on this passage in the comment section below or on the Facebook page.