Summary: The pigs in Mark 5 teach us some important lessons about how to have a full life: Don’t let Satan destroy you; don’t let society detain you; instead, trust Jesus to deliever you.
Pig Lessons (Mark 5:1-20)
There is an old story about a village that bought a fancy tower clock. Some time after it was installed, a visitor to the town discovered that all the people were sleeping during the day and working at night. When he asked them about this, they answered, “We have the most unique town in America. After we got our new clock, we began to notice that the sun kept rising earlier and earlier every morning. Finally the daytime hours were dark and the night hours were light. We are petitioning the President for special recognition as the only town in America with such a situation.”
What actually happened was the new clock began running slower and slower, all because sparrows were roosting inside it. And the sad fact is the people allowed themselves to be controlled by this manmade device without even checking it out. (Ruth Ann Ridley, “Learning to Live in the Limits,” Discipleship Journal, Jan/Feb 1983)
Now, that’s not unlike many people today. They unthinkingly allow themselves to be controlled by outside influences, whether it’s some “clock,” the world around them, or even Satan Himself. Then they wonder why their lives are so messed up.
What then is the answer for straightening out the mess? What can we do to make things right, or better yet to keep from being deceived in the first place?
Mark 5:1-5 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For 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. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. (NIV)
Now, according to the Talmud, which is an ancient commentary on the Old Testament Law, there were four characteristics of madness: walking [outside] at night; spending the night on a grave; tearing one’s clothes; and destroying what one was given. This man demonstrated all four characteristics. (Lane, p.182)
But he was more than insane, he was demon possessed! This man had allowed Satan’s legions to control his life, and it drove him mad.
Mark 5:6-7 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He 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!” (NIV)
Or better, “I implore you BY GOD not to torture me.”
Mark 5:8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!” (NIV)
The demons in this man recognize Jesus’ superior power. He is kneeling before our Lord and begging not to be tortured, not so much the man himself, but the demons in him.
Mark 5:9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” (NIV)