Summary: Jesus is the true chain breaker. he can break any sin or addiction if we will turn to Him.
“The Chain Breaker”
So as we come into this chapter we follow a powerful miracle that has just taken place. The disciples and Jesus were traveling to the opposite side of the lake when a large storm came up. The waves were so strong that a large amount of water had entered their boat and the disciples were afraid for their lives. And Jesus was sound asleep. Mark tells us he was sleeping on a cushion in the boat. Apparently he was a very sound sleeper. So they wake him up and Jesus stood up and rebuked the when and told the seed to be still. And that is exactly what happened.
The response of the disciples was this: they were terrified and they said who is this that even the wind and the sea obey him? They had witnessed Jesus healing those who were physically sick but now they see that even the wind and the water serve at his pleasure. Again, note their response. They were terrified. So now they have made it to the other side of the lake to an area that is just east of the Sea of Galilee. The very moment that they climb out of the boat they encounter a man with an unclean spirit.
Mark and Matthew help us paint a vivid picture of this individual. They step out of the boat and they are near a place that contains many tombs/burial spots and also has many caves. This man who approaches them has apparently been suffering; he has been in this condition for a long time. And numerous people have tried to help that were not successful. And the only thing they know to do is to restrain him. So they found him with shackles and chains in hopes of keeping people safe when they came through this area. But unfortunately he was so strong that he was able to break the shackles and break the chains apart. So no one was able to subdue him. Day and night people could hear him crying out and cutting himself with stones. And for what are obvious reasons this man was no longer able to live with his family so he had taken up residence in the cemetery. Which would not be the choice most of us would make for housing.
Matthew tells us the man was violent and that no one could pass down this road and remain safe. Yet here is Jesus along with his disciples. Mark also tells us this man would cut himself with stones. Now while that probably sounds strange to many of us, it was a practice among some people and has resurfaced in recent years, mostly among young people. It is simply called cutting. And young people will take a sharp objects such as a razor blade and cut their own skin. Several years ago I was making an attempt to help a teenager who was doing this very thing. She had cuts up and down both arms and also on her legs. Dozens of them. And I thought life is painful enough at times; why would anyone want to inflict even more pain on themselves? So I ask the obvious question. What causes you to do this to yourself? Her answer was simple. The pain I caused myself distracts me from the greater pain I feel inside. That made my heart very heavy for her.
This man approaches Jesus and he likely had scars all over his body from years of cutting and when the man sees Jesus he falls on his knees to worship him. The Bible tells us that at the name of Jesus every need should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord and that is exactly what he was doing. This was an acknowledgment that someone greater than him was in his presence and the demon knew that it must relinquish its hold on the man because now they were in the presence of God himself. And now the real struggle begins. This was nothing new and this is what I mean. If we go back to the beginning of time as we know it, God had created spiritual beings who resided with him in heaven. Just as God gives man free will and the ability to make choices, these angels had that choice as well. They became jealous of God’s power and they chose to fight against him.
The OT teaches us that Lucifer who was one of these, spoke and said “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God and I will sit on the amount of assembly; I will make myself like the most high.” Isaiah 14:13-14. Then in the NT book of Revelation we learn that Satan/Lucifer fell and took one third of the Angels with him. And so these angels, we now refer to as demons continued to serve Lucifer. And their influence is still at work today.