THE GADARENE DEMONIAC
Lesson#02 for August 13th 2017
OVERVIEW OF TEXTS: Mark 5: 1-20
Focal lesson Texts: Mark 5:1-8, 9-17, 18-20
Once again our Lifeway lesson writers have skipped to a different gospel text. Last week we were in Matthew and today we are in Mark chapter 5. The four “gospels” present a rounded picture of Jesus and His work during His time on earth. Most Scholars believe that the gospel of Mark was the earliest written and also that Matthew and Luke both probably used it as a resource in writing their “gospels” (as did Paul although Paul must have leaned heavily on Luke who was his frequent companion on some of his missionary journeys.) We don’t have space here to go into the details of the various things that support that theory. But we do believe that their writings were accurate and inspired by God for our benefit.
The Gospel of John takes a different approach but all four of the Gospels are considered by Bible Scholars as divinely inspired. That is by “believing scholars”; not the “modernists” who seem to exist for the sole purpose of trying to discount His Divinity and His saving Grace. I don’t consider them reliable scholars. The more they try to disprove the ministry of the savior the more God opens up newly discovered evidence of His true mission and the historical reality of His stance.
In our overall lesson themes we come once again to an incident in His life which points to His saving power and His divine mission to mankind. Let us now look into our lesson texts and discover another incident which shows His power and merciful response to a human need.
I.)JESUS CARED ABOUT THE DEMONIAC WHO WAS ISOLATED FROM SOCIETY: Mark 5:1-8
[I am going to quote a larger portion of Mark chapter 5 to set the scene of this miracle)
“5 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. [a] 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him,[b] not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘“What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.’
8 For He said to him, ‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit!’ 9 Then He asked him, “What is your name?”
And he answered, saying, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many.’ 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, ‘Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.’ 13 And at once Jesus[c] gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.”
I included a large portion of scripture in order to set the stage for this incident in the life and ministry of Jesus. Here Jesus demonstrated in a very dramatic fashion that He had full authority over all circumstances or difficulties in the lives of people. Not only did His authority and power apply to men and women’s, problems and diseases, but over the spirit world. That means that even evil spirits had to obey Him when challenged by Him. This man who was possessed by evil spirits was totally isolated from all other people in the society of the time
But Jesus cared about that man and others who were enslaved by Satan and his evil spirits
This is one of the most dramatic proofs of His authority, and gives witness that He was indeed the promised Messiah.
Jesus, in serving the “outcasts” such as this man demonstrated that HE came to heal and restore those who are enslaved by sin and its practices. There is no sin which cannot be overcome by Him; there are no “hard cases” which He cannot heal. We as normal human beings tend to avoid the “hard cases” out of dread, fear, or a feeling that they do not deserve to be helped. However He stood willing to aid such people. HE is our example of not giving up even to the most hard of cases.
The scripture does not identify the people who were herding these swine. If they were Jews they were doing something which was forbidden to them by scripture since pigs were considered “unclean” animals. However, this area may have had a mixture of Gentile and Jewish peoples so the owners of the pigs may have been gentiles. However, an unclean animal was still an unclean animal for sanitary reasons even if not directly commanded by some law to a people group. There were actual reasons that God had forbidden Jews to eat or even come into contact with such “unclean animals”. There were spiritual lessons in that as well as practical applications as to their health. All animals which were “scavengers” were considered “unclean” ceremonially and also practically as to the effect on their health. A study of the Law regarding what animals were “unclean” and what were “clean” ceremonially shows that God had more in mind than ritual cleanliness; He also used it to guard their health. They had no knowledge of germs and viruses, but God did.
II.) JESUS CONFRONTATED THE EVIL SPIRITS IN CONTROL OF THE DEMONIAC: Mark 5:9-17
“9 And he asked him, ‘What is thy name?’ And he answered, saying, ‘My name is Legion: for we are many’. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, ‘Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.’
13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand ;) and were choked in the sea. 14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. 15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. 17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.”
This exercise of Jesus’ power over the demons which possessed this man demonstrates that they cannot defy His power! No doubt they seem to need to possess some living person or animal. But the animals became crazed when they entered into them. Some have speculated that if they could not enter into some living being they would have to descend into hell - which is their rightful place. I have no clue why Jesus granted their request. It could be because the proper time of their judgment awaits a later time, but there is not enough scriptural proof to support hat idea. It is one of those mysteries that will be revealed to us later on, we just must take His actions by faith. The clear message is that He had authority on earth over all other powers and spiritual beings. HE was and is the ruler over the universe as Lord and Master, even if some do not acknowledge that, they will at some time be forced to acknowledge is lordship.
III.) JESUS CALLED THE MAN TO TESTIFYTO GOD’S GOODNESS TOWARD HIM: Mark 5:18-20
“18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.”
It was a normal reaction for the healed demoniac to wish to stay with Jesus. But the Lord had a further role for Him to live out. The ongoing missions of all who have had an experience with Our Lord also have a similar role to play. It is “Go tell” This is how the message of the Gospel has come down to us over more than 19 centuries and the message is still the same. “Jesus Saves” and all need to come to Him for deliverance from the ravages of sin.
Our “Conclusion” is that we too were lepers, demonized or enslaved by some other kind of bondage from which He has provided the victory. Let us seek to be faithful until He comes again to receive us to Himself.