Summary: Discover the counter-cultural ethic that Jesus utilized as he ministered and saved the human race.


Mark 5:1-20

From the Sermon Series: “Ten Cultural Myths that Drive America”

Sermon Objective: To offer a solution to the “feel good” philosophy and quest for sensual gratification that drives our culture.

We are in the final stages of our sermon series, “Ten Cultural Myths that Drive America.” It is taken from the first six chapters of Mark. We discovered that Jesus’ worldview goes against the grain of much in mainstream America. We are highlighting different slogans or aphorisms that are imbedded into the American psyche. They reinforce our cultural philosophies. Specifically we have looked at:

• Might Makes Right (Mark 1:1-12) –we saw Christ’s counter-cultural ethic of serving humanity rather than working from a position coercion and manipulation.

• Image is Everything (Mark 1:32-39) – Jesus rejects this Western value. Jesus had the crowds eating out of his has but walked away from the populace specifically because their ambitions did not coincide with those of the Heavenly Father’s.

• Shop ‘till You Drop (Mark 2:13-17) - Jesus reminds us that there are better ways to find meaning in life than materialism.

• Rules are Made to be Broken (Mark 2:18 – 3:6) - Jesus rebukes and challenges the worldview which says the ends justify means. Jesus says there is no place to bend or violate God’s eternal law. Period.

• Live and Let Live (Mark 3:1-6) - Jesus challenges the individualism that dictates so much of the American lifestyle choices and offers us an alternative; community.

• Good Things Come to Those Who … Wait (Mark 4:1-20) - Jesus calls us to task and challenges us not to delay when it comes to the maintenance of the soul.

In coming weeks we will look at other slogans that have become embedded into our value system; other idioms that define us and motivate us as a people. We will look at:

• God Helps Those Who Help Themselves (Mark 5:25-34)

• Stand Up For Your Rights (Mark 5:17, 6:1-6)

• When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do (Mark6:15-29)

But today we are looking at chapter 5:1-20:

1They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!" 8For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!"

9Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?"

"My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many." 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them." 13He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When 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. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus 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." 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

It isn’t new … it has its roots in Greek Philosophy and reemerges from time to time. For about half the population alive today it has been the mantra since before they were born – it is part-and-parcel of how they perceive their world. But the graying temples among us know about impact of the the revolution in the sixties and, even though we may not be familiar with terms like “post-modernism” or “foundationalism” or “representationalism”, we know “it” when we see “it.”

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