God’s Mighty Power

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.

When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 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!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”

Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
(Mark 5:1-13)

“It is His love for man, His compassion for the human race, that prompts God to hate sin with such a vengeance. He gave Heaven’s finest that we might have the best; and He loathes with a holy abhorrence anything that would hinder our being reconciled to Him.”
-Billy Graham
Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost. In these verses, we find Jesus and His disciples in a place inhabited primarily by Gentiles. It is here that this man possessed by many demons approaches the Lord Jesus. Driven by the demons to abide in a desolate area, this plagued person was kept in his own horrific prison type experience. This oppressed man could not be subdued even by chains. He was as an untamed wild animal, shrieking wildly in an inhuman howl and cutting himself with sharp stones. The devil is a cruel master indeed.

His pathetic condition demonstrates this was not a mere sickness or insanity, but a satanic attempt to destroy one made in God’s own image. Praise God, Jesus is the One who saves the living from among the dead! Jesus tells us in Matthew:

“But about the resurrection of the deadhave you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” (Matthew 22:31-32)

“What is man, when reason is dethroned and Satan enthroned?” -Matthew Henry

Seeing Jesus from a distance, the demon-possessed man runs and falls on his knees in front of the Savior. The demons were fully aware of who Jesus was. Using the vocal chords of the man they were housed in, they shout out: “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” The demons are fully aware of our Lord’s divine origin and His superior power.

Jesus commands the demon to depart their host. When Jesus asks the demons their name, they responds through the man, “Legion, for we are many.” “Legion” was a common term in Palestine denoting a regiment of about six thousand soldiers–suggesting that this man was under the power of great strength and oppression.

“No one overcomes the corruptions of his heart except by the enabling strength of the Spirit of God.” -Jerry Bridges

Desirous to remain hosted in this desolate area these demons beg Jesus to allow them to stay. Jesus has and the power to send them wherever he wills. These demons are fully aware of His power over them. Not wanting to be left without a host and in a desperate attempt to avoid being consigned to a disembodied state until the final judgment, the demons beg Jesus to allow them to enter into a herd of pigs feeding on the nearby hillside. Jesus gives them permission and the immediate destruction of the pigs ensues.

Take It to Heart

We are not matches in our own strength against these powers of darkness. It is only in the Lord and in His power that we are able to stand against them.

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