Summary: What would cause a man to be demon possessed? And how can we deal with the personal demons that influence us today?
A man often walked through a cemetery on his way home. One night, though, unaware that a new grave had been dug in his path, he tumbled in. For some time he struggled to get out of the 7 foot deep grave, but finally gave up and settled down for the night.
An hour later, a farmer out possum hunting came walking through the cemetery and he too fell into the grave. He began a desperate attempt to get out, unaware that there was anyone else in the grave.
The first man listened to him for a few minutes, then reached over in the pitch darkness and laid a hand on his shoulder. "You can’t get out of here," he said...
but he did.
Throughout the New Testament, we’re told of times when Jesus or Apostles cast demons out of people. But nowhere in the Bible is the description of demon possession more graphic and horrifying than here in Mark 5.
This guy is scary…
He lives in a graveyard.
He’s unshaven, ragged.
And he’s scarred from chains and shackles that have been unable to bind him.
We’re not sure what he’s wearing - but if he’s wearing clothes at all - it isn’t much.
His face has a dark haunted look to it. And his body bears the marks of cuts he’s made on it with sharp stones. He may even be bleeding as he runs down the path to Jesus.
Every night and every day, he prowls the hills around the graveyard howling and screeching in a crazed torment of a man whose personal demons will not let him rest.
And had you the courage to get close enough to talk with him, you’d have heard him shout at you and perhaps heard the demonic echoes of several different voices in unison. For the demons within him were legion.
Not only would you not want to meet him in a dark cemetery, you wouldn’t want to meet him on a crowded street in broad day light.
He’s a dangerous and frightening man.
I. Now the Bible doesn’t tell us - but I got to thinking: just how did this man come to be demon possessed?
I could only find one story in the Bible that dealt with HOW someone came to be demon possessed.
He was the first king of Israel. A man named Saul.
I Samuel 16:14 tells us: "Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him."
What could have happened in a man’s life that would open him up to demon possession?
In Saul’s case it was his open rebellion against God.
In I Samuel 15:23 the prophet Samuel condemned Saul with these words: "rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king."
Saul’s sin was that he deliberately rejected of God’s authority in his life. He sought to be free from God’s restrictions and responsibilities. And his rebellion manifested itself in a kind of arrogance that God refused to allow.
ILLUS: Not so long ago, I caught couple of boys in my neighborhood doing things they shouldn’t have been doing. Standing on my porch I challenged the boys (who were around 8 to 12 years old) and expected that - having been caught - they’d slink away in shame or disgrace. After all, I was an adult and they had obviously been caught doing something they shouldn’t have.
Did they slink away in disgrace?
No... They turned on me and mocked me - taunting me like I was school child that they could bully into submission.
They had an arrogance towards my authority that was greatly disturbing and angering. In fact, if they’d been my kids, and I’d have gotten hold of them, they wouldn’t have been able to sit down for a week.
I suspect, that’s how God felt about Saul’s attitude of rebellion. I believe Saul’s rebellion held in it a tinge of disrespect for God’s authority.
Bible implies that this demon possession that came upon Saul came because his rebellion was "like the sin of divination, and (his) arrogance like the evil of idolatry."
II. Now, before we move on, I want you to notice something else about demon possession.
Samuel told Saul that his "rebellion is like the sin of divination."
Acts 16 tells of a young woman who was demon possessed.
And what do you suppose she did for a living? She practiced divination. She was a woman who made her living in fortune telling, palm reading, or interpreting tarot cards and tea leaves. Or perhaps she would have consulted Ouija boards or horoscopes. If she lived in our day, she would have had a 1-900 #.