Monday, October 3, 2016

31 Days of Healing: The Demon-Possessed Man

Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.  And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,  who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains,  because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.  And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.  And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”
 For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”  Then He asked him, “What is your name?”
And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”  Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.
 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains.  So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.”  And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.  And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.
 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him.  However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.-Mark 5:1-20

There are three stories of healing in Mark chapter 5, the first being the story of the demon-possessed man of Gadara.  I have often wondered if Jesus didn’t travel to this area just for this man.  The Bible tells us that they cross the lake, Jesus frees this man, and then they go back across the lake.
As soon as Jesus gets out of the boat, this man comes to meet him.  I want you to notice that the demon(s) could not stop him from coming to Jesus. 
When he comes to Jesus, it is recorded that he comes from a specific place, the tombs.  I have always had this image of a cave inside of a mountain, which is kind of what a tomb is.  But the impact didn’t really hit me, until recently.  He was living surrounded by the dead.  And he comes to Jesus, who is life.
The account gives us a little background of what his life was like.  It says he had once been bound, but couldn’t be bound anymore, “not even with chain.”  It says he broke the chains apart.  It also says he would “cry out and cut himself with stones.”  One thing I have noticed, is that when we are told about anybody in the Bible who is possessed by a demon or demons, it was always violent. 
How terrible and lonely a life.  He lived in isolation.  He hurt himself.  No one would or could come near him.  Then Jesus.
Jesus came for him.  And Jesus wasn’t afraid of him.  And he didn’t want to leave him that way.
Jesus tells the demons to leave.  He sends them into pigs.  Then the man is okay.  He is freed. 
The people who were the “pig farmers” I guess, go and tell the rest of the town what happened.  They all rush out and see that the man is okay.  Now you would think that they would be really excited that this man was free.  He wasn’t tormented anymore.  He wasn’t scaring people or hurting himself.  He was no longer a threat. But they aren’t excited.  They freak out and want Jesus to leave.  This confuses me. 
I heard the possible reason for this is that they weren’t Jews.  Jews wouldn’t be farming pigs.  So, they quite possibly had some different beliefs and were alarmed by Jesus’ presence, unaware of the goodness of God.
As Jesus is leaving, the man who was freed wants to go with Jesus.  When people are set free or healed by the power of God, they will always want to follow Jesus.  He is the savior, rescuer, lover, healer and redeemer.
Jesus tells him no though.  He had something else for him to do.  That man was to go and preach the Gospel to his area, because obviously, they didn’t know about God.  They didn’t know about Jesus. And this man was a walking demonstration of the power of God.
Jesus tells the man to go and tell his own people
what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.
That word “compassion” is defined as mercy.  Helps Word Studies says it expresses “God’s covenant-loyal mercy.”  The Gospel is the New Covenant. 
The man does what Jesus tells him and goes to the Decapolis, which is the “ten cities”, and everyone was amazed.
I love this story.  Jesus heals/frees this man and his life is immediately changed.  I love immediately.  I love what Jesus does.

Blessings to you as you get to know Him more,
Beth

To read more in the series go here:






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