Mark 5:1–20 (ESV)
1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea. 14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
THEN: Small theme in Mark 4:35-43. The kingdom power is on if anyone’s looking. Jesus mighty works are displayed in The Sea, Demon Possession, Death, Uncleanliness. —- Big Theme or Picture in Mark: The world is in deep distress, pain and suffering etc… Jesus (suffering servant, king) meets the world in its distress and delivers it.—– Some important aspects of this story… A. The area of The Decapolis was not Jewish. B. Jewish people would not be keeping 2,000 pigs. C. Rome (gentiles) was an unclean satanic nation of pigs to most of the Jewish people. D. 6000 foot soldiers and 120 horsemen made a Roman Legion. E. This man in the story was a gentile in a roman territory “Naked, Isolated and Self Destructive” Just like the gentile world in the eyes of Jewish people from that day and age.
NOW: We are pursued in our ungodliness, dressed in our nakedness, loved in our loneliness, healed in our self destructiveness and caught in our resistance by the transforming grace of God.
- Come as you are… Believe that God has first taken initiative in turning to you. Come! God looks/seeks those not looking/seeking for Him.
- “a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears a harem of fondled hatreds my name was Legion.” C.S. Lewis Let’s meet those in our sphere of influence the way God met us with love and hope.
- Jesus is hard to follow and understand. Those watching the deliverance and being blessed by it ultimately cannot tolerate it because it’s bad for business.
- This man is a picture of the whole of creation “inarticulately groaning for redemption” (Rom 8:22) Isolated-Naked-Self-destructive = The Man =The World = Jesus
Monday: J.I. Packer says…
“Regeneration is monergistic: that is, entirely the work of God the Holy Spirit. It raises the elect among the spiritually dead to new life in Christ (Eph. 2:1-10). Regeneration is a transition from spiritual death to spiritual life, and conscious, intentional, active faith in Christ is its immediate fruit, not its immediate cause. Regeneration is the work of what Augustine called “prevenient” grace, the grace that precedes our outgoings of heart toward God.” Question: What are your thoughts on Mark 5:1-20 and what J.I. Packer calls “preveinient grace”? Queestion: How was God’s grace at work in you before your heart cried out to Him for salvation?
Tuesday: Isaiah 65:1–5 (ESV)
1 I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that was not called by my name. 2 I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; 3 a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks; 4 who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat pig’s flesh, and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels; 5 who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. Question: Isaiah is speaking of God extending his gospel to those outside of Israel into the heathen’s world. What are some of the parallels with the story in Mark 5:1-20 and Isaiah 65:1-5?
Wednesday: David Garland says…
“God searches out those who have never searched for or thought about turning to God… The demoniac’s incoherent cries are directed into the air to no gods in particular. Not surprisingly they receive no answer. He is not seeking God or even healing when it comes. The region where he resides resists it. Yet we see the power of God’s mercy and love that captures and transforms those who do not even know that it exists and may initially resist it when it invades their lives.” Question: How does this thought by David Garland cause us to see our community? Question: Is there any hope for those in our community who closely resemble the man in this story?
Thursday: Some quotes in regards demons…
Leenhardt “We have renamed the demons of the past, but we have not exorcised them”
Daniel Day Williams… “Power from beyond the self may be more realistic than humanism, which expects its overcoming through human effort alone”
Sydney H. T. Page argues that we have much to gain from revitalizing a belief in the supernatural world and from renewing the biblical emphasis on conflict and victory. He offers several important cautions, however. (1) Such beliefs, if they become exaggerated, breed fear and paranoia. We should not see demons behind every rock and tree, ready to ambush unsuspecting, innocent bystanders. The exorcisms in Mark convey exactly the opposite mood. Jesus is always victorious. The enemy powers are being vanquished—usually with just one little word. (2) One may be tempted to blame demons for everything and thereby evade any personal responsibility. Some things that people call demons are simply the displays of human vices. (3) Some present-day expressions of belief in demons border on the superstitious and sub-Christian. One should exercise discernment and not accept every claim about the demonic at face value. (4) Scripture shuns any attempt to name and rank demons, and one should avoid any such speculation. We do not conquer demons by knowing their names. (5) Demon possession is a rare phenomenon. We should not explain every strange behavior as demonic or label every human opponent as demonic. Those who focus their efforts on a sensational warfare with demons and the rescuing of their victims may neglect the more mundane spiritual warfare that each Christian must wage in his or her own heart. People today are more likely to be controlled by a legion of cravings, captivations, and destructive impulses than by a legion of demons.
Friday: Read Mark 5:21-24; 35-43.
- What was Mark saying THEN (to those people in that time)?
- What is Mark saying NOW to us in our time?
- What does this point mean for the non Christian?
- What does it mean for us as citizens, as employees, and so forth?
- What does it teach us about Christ?
- What does it mean for us as individual Christians?
- What does it mean for our church as a whole?
Saturday: Does this passage push back against one or more of these (Below) current ways of seeing, understanding and living in this world?
- “I” am the center of the universe
- I am what I own
- My nation is God’s nation
- We can’t know what is universally good
- All that matters is matter (Verse 2)
- We are gods
- All that matters is what my small group thinks
- I can come to my full human potential through inner exploration
- The Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior
- The extreme adherence to tradition, especially in cultural or religious practice for salvation. Example: Holding faith in ONLY a system where all knowledge is derived from an original divine revelation and is transmitted by tradition.