Summary: An examination of the Demoniac of Gadara and his demon possession
"Lessons from a Madman"
As a former alcoholic and drug-abuser, my attention was drawn to the account given in the Bible about the Madman, the demon-possessed man of Gadara (Mark 5:1-20). His attitude/actions, before the Lord delivered him from demon-possession and he was born-again, were very similar to mine before I was saved.
So, while looking for Bible answers I studied his story thoroughly and was surprised to find these significant facts concerning the characteristics of a person that is demonically influenced, controlled, or possessed by the devil. And please, let me assert at the outset of this brief message, demon possession is not a "thing of the past" to be relegated to the first century and the days when the Lord Jesus Christ walked this earth. No, just as prevalent as disease, blindness, and lameness was in Jesus’ day and also is today, so is demon influence, control and possession. Society has just given it a different name.
Today we call it: mentally ill, emotional problems/sickness, schizophrenia, bipolar personality disorder, and the list of mental maladies seems to be endless as we gain more "knowledge". Let us just be Biblical about it and call it as it is: "Demonic influence, control and possession". And please, let me also assert at the outset, that I am not speaking on this subject as an "outsider looking in". No, I have experienced firsthand many of the demonic afflictions of this Madman.
I have also experienced firsthand the ‘so called’ state of the art cures of man, and I can say confidently using the Biblical text as my authority "No man could tame (me) him" that’s right no man but Jesus Christ, the God-Man of Heaven. And just as He tamed the Madman of Gadara by casting out the great multitude of demons, He also tamed this madman giving us both a testimony ministry and eternal life in the process! Hallelujah, What a Saviour!
Now back to the Bible text: Although this Madman is totally possessed by the devil, common sense tells us his condition was not an "over night thing". No, he first of all was influenced by the devil through his thought processes. One thought at a time he eventually gave control of his entire being over to the demonic forces that finally possessed him totally. Step by step, in degrees of yieldedness, this apparent Madman surrendered his entire being, body soul and spirit and now as God’s Word records this last stage of complete possession (Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-40).
Demonic influence can be found affecting the life of any person! Yes, believer and unbeliever alike can be influenced by demons. Then comes the second stage of demons controlling the life of the victim. Our attitudes and actions can and will be controlled by the one to whom we yield. "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey his servants ye are to whom ye obey? (Romans 6:16)
We must remember that all three stages are measured in degrees of our yieldedness, whether it be Self, Satan or the Saviour! The demon-possessed man of Gadara slowly surrendered his thoughts, attitudes, and actions until he, the Madman of Gadara, was totally possessed by multitudes of demons!
Being a child of the devil, it was natural for him to do wrong. However, during these acts of sin and rebellion towards God, he came under the influence of demonic suggestions, control of his thought processes began to be given over in a slow methodical process in degrees, here a little, there a little until finally he was completely possessed.
This Madman of Gadara was totally owned by the master of sin himself. When the Bible passages concerning The Madman of Gadara are analyzed, at least ten characteristics of demonic influence, control and possession are found:
1. Loner Mentality (Mark 5:1ff)
2. Unusual Physical Strength (Mark 5:4)
3. Continual Unrest (Mark 5:5)
4. Loud, Unearthly, Animalistic Crying/Screams (Mark 5:5)
5. Morals out of Control/Nakedness (Luke 8:27)
6. Self-Inflicted Wounds (Mark 5:5)
7. Confusion of Mind/Split Personality/Schizophrenic (Mark 5:7)
8. Fixation with death (Mark 5:2, 35)
9. Aggressive Behavior/Hostile toward others/Exceeding fierce (Matthew 8:28)
10. Outcast from society (Mark 5:2)
The one sign of demonic influence that seems to be the most evident in our society today is: "Morals out of Control". When the Lord Jesus crossed the Galilee to save this one man’s soul He was faced with a man that was completely unclothed. Yes, this man came out of the tombs and approached Jesus and the disciples completely naked! The sin of baring the body/displaying the body is one that plagues and inflicts the people of God today!
Degrees of nudity and wearing clothing that accentuate the shape of one’s body has become acceptable among those who name the Name of Christ! Yes, modesty has been sacrificed on the altar of convenience, comfort, and conformity to the world’s dress code. Although it is evident in both sexes, women are the greater offenders, for their degrees of nudity and exposure of their bodies through ungodly dress cause men to "commit adultery in their hearts" thereby falling into sin.