Summary: Jesus casts demons out of demoniac of Gadera
Jesus Confronts Supernatural Evil Mark 5:1-20
INTRO.: Many wonder how the events of Sept. 11th could have happened. We often hear the question, “How could they hate us so much?” “What did they hope to gain?” Some were duped into believing they would get a place in paradise in return for dying for their God. But, those who duped them do not believe it or they would come out of the caves they are hiding in and die like heroes. Maybe today’s sermon will give us a little insight into those questions. That atrocity and some others of which we hear seem to defy human nature. There is no profit for those who commit the horrors.
We can’t think of any human reason for a mother drowning her five children or a man boarding an airplane with a bomb in his shoe so he can kill hundreds of people, including himself. That’s because these things don’t come out of the human mind. There is a supernatural evil force at work in our world today and we are in a cosmic conflict for the lives of men and women.
The story of Jesus casting demons out of a man is one of the most mysterious stories in the Bible. Our scientific mindset has led us to believe everything can be explained on the basis of natural causes. This simply isn’t so. There are things in this world that can’t be explained and must be accepted on faith. One is the existence of invisible, supernatural personalities and forces that inhabit the air around us and influence our lives and destinies. There is good and evil. There is God and Satan. There are angels and demons.
Let’s see what we can learn from this story of Jesus’ encounter with the supernatural forces of evil:
I. Let’s take a closer look at the story.
A. Consider the setting. Use your imagination for a moment to picture the scene before us:
1. Jesus put in a tiresome day the day before teaching the crowds in parables and painstakingly explaining them to His disciples when they managed to be alone.
2. Night came and Jesus, exhausted, decides they should cross the Sea of Galilee to hopefully find some rest. During the night, a fearsome storm arises. One that surpasses the experience of the mariners with whom He travels. They fear for their lives. He calms the storm and they arrive on the other side in the night.
3. They land in a desolate area where there are caves used for burying the dead. Debris and mud from the storm is everywhere. There is screaming from the tombs. Thousands of hogs on a hillside nearby squealing and snorting in the night.
B. Jesus steps ashore and is met by a man completely out of control:
1. He lived in the tombs naked. His companions were corpses.
2. He could not be restrained. No matter what was used, he quickly overcame those trying to subdue him and broke all fetters.
3. He was self-destructive but seemed unable to kill himself. Day and night he cut himself and screamed from the tombs. He was so violent no one wanted to even pass nearby.
C. The man saw Jesus and immediately knew he was powerless against the Servant of God. He ran and knelt before Jesus.
1. He identified Jesus immediately and loudly. All around could hear. Men may not always recognize Him, but the demons know and fear Him.
2. Even though “many,” the demons feared Jesus, knowing His power.
3. See how the pronouns are mixed; “My name is Legion, for we are many” “he begged Jesus not to send them out of the area.” The many demons were speaking thru the one man, using his voice.
4. It is almost as if their greatest fear is being disembodied. Sharing the body of one man or even living in pigs is preferable to being “sent out of the area.” Evil needs a physical body to function. It dwells in the flesh.
D. The reaction of the witnesses is very strange, it seems to me: 14-17
1. They didn’t share the Jewish contempt for pigs and saw a threat to their livelihood, perhaps. “Hog futures” were getting a little shaky
2. May have feared reprisals from the Evil One. They had learned to tolerate and accommodate the evil among them and now they must readjust their thinking. They have no compassion for the possessed man, nor do they share his joy in being freed. They know not what to expect next.
3. The freed man wanted to go with Jesus, but instead was sent on an evangelistic mission. Verse 19 describes a powerful evangelistic technique.
II. There are some very important lessons we can learn from this story. The Lord included it in the Gospel record to teach us something: