Summary: Can we wee more than the pigs? Even pigs didn’t want to live under the power and influence of unclean spirits. We need Jesus to speak peace into our lives.
In a Pig’s Eye
By Pastor Jim May
In this world there is a great truth that we should never forget. And what is that great and profound truth, you might ask? It is simply this: Never wrestle with a pig: You both get all dirty, and the pig likes it.
In our story from God’s Word tonight, we will find that most people would still rather wrestle with the pigs than to follow Jesus.
Jesus and the disciples stepped off of the ship after having spent a long night on the Sea of Galilee. It had been a night of terror and of wonder. It was on this night that Jesus stood on the side of the boat, as the storms raged, the winds blew and waves crashed, and said, “Peace be Still”. The Master of the Wind had spoken and the storm ceased immediately astounding the disciples. They knew that Jesus had power but they didn’t know that he could command the winds and the waves and they would obey.
Mark 5:2-5, "And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones."
This demoniac lived out in the open and alone. No one wanted to be around him because he was uncontrollable. They had tried but failed many times to tame him but the powers of hell that bound him were far greater than any man made chains or ropes. Like Samson of old, he was powered by a supernatural ability to break free. Samson, of course, was given his power by Almighty God, but in the case of this man from Gadara, he was empowered by unclean and demonic spirits.
Why did he dwell in the cemeteries and among the tombs?
1) He was bound by unclean spirits and was living a nightmare. I can imagine that he wanted to be free but could not break free from their bondage. His every thought was to get rid of the control that Satan had over his life and I wonder how often he desired to be dead and in one of those tombs forever. Anything would be better than the life that he lived. For this reason he would find broken stone from the monuments and the graves and use them to slit his own wrists, or cut himself to allow the blood to flow and get rid of his diseases and afflictions. He grasped at straws and tried anything he could.
(In those days an acceptable form of medical treatment for diseases was to cut the sick person and allow them to “bleed out their poisonous infection”.)
2) The cemetery was the only place where he could find escape from the persecutions of the people in the country. How many times they had chased him down and tried to restrain him we do not know. But one thing is for sure; they had tried many times and failed. He was better off living among the dead than among the living. At least for a few moments of time he could find peace when he was alone in the darkness of night, among the dead, where no one would come to bother him.
3) Satan was determined to eventually kill him and destroy his soul. It is fitting therefore that he would be driven to madness by being constantly reminded of the eternal fires of hell that awaited him. With every turn, there was another tomb and more death. Satan loves to keep us dwelling upon the negative so that we can sense nothing but hopelessness.
When I look at the condition of this demoniac and all that he faced I can only come to one conclusion. The only reason that this man was still alive is that in the foreknowledge of God, Jesus knew that one day, this demoniac of the Gadarenes would come to Christ and find deliverance. God had kept him through it all. Like it had been in the days of Job, God had allowed Satan to go so far, but no farther. God loved that demoniac and he was going to make sure that Satan didn’t destroy him before he could find eternal life.
We don’t know why some people have to go so far down before they can look up and see Jesus! Perhaps the demoniac wasn’t ready until that very moment when Jesus walked onto the shore of Gadara to finally fall on his face before the Lord seeking deliverance. How often do we see people who are absolutely bound by sin and shame and yet will not surrender their lives to Jesus? How far will the drug addict be driven into the pits of hell before he or she decides that they’ve had enough? How far into a life of perverseness will mankind go before he reaches the bottom and wants deliverance?