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Fleeing demons to find freedom in Christ: A Bible study on Mark 5:1-20 (part 2)

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This is the final part of a two-part Bible study. You can find part 1 at this link: Mark 5:1-20 (part 1) 

Part 2:

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

There are evil spirits at work to convince people they’re beyond the Lord’s forgiveness; that their sin is too great, they’ve hurt too many people, or have too many demons in their life. Maybe, you are one, or know someone, who has believed their lies. You wonder if you’ve committed an unpardonable sin, or whether you’re too far gone and there’s no way back to Christ from where you’re at.

No one is beyond salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. “The one who comes from above is above all” (John 3:31). Our Lord is a loving, merciful, and compassionate Savior, who longs to forgive men of their sins, and restore them to himself. 

When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no could bind him anymore, 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? In God’s name don’t torture me! For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” (Matthew 5:2-8)

A man who was possessed by many demons, separated himself from society and spent his days taking shelter among the tombs. He lived life in meaningless, hopeless abandon.

Tombs are meant for the dead, not the living. This man didn’t belong there. But, in earlier days, he had dabbled with impure spiritual forces until he eventually fell under the company of demons.

There’s an expression, “he fell in with bad company.” That’s an imagery of what happens leading into demon-possession. When a man “toys” with temporary pleasures found in ungodly activities, those things can become a hook of entanglement which eventually draws him deeper and deeper into an evil entrapment.

Some things are obliviously evil, such as engaging in the demonic world of the occult. Yet, most times, entrapment into demonic realms begins by someone engaging in worldly enticements that are contrary to the Word of God.

Demonic spirits lure men into dark, lonely, hellish places—places that feel like tombs; places where men were never meant to be. Not only do demons take men down, they hold men down. Like the man who lived among the tombs. Physically, he was too strong to be bound by chains. But, spiritually, this man was bound under demonic oppression.

There are demonic “chains” that bind men today; such as alcohol, drugs, pornography, prostitution, adultery, homosexuality, fornication, etc. These types of “chains” can become “addictions.” But even more descriptive than “addictions,” they are “afflictions.” Afflictions that are demonic in origin.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12)Dark, demonic forces are waging spiritual warfare in this world. But there is good news, darkness is nothing more than the absence of light.

All the powers of darkness, dissipate in the presence of the Jesus Christ. For, He is Light and Truth. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

The man who fled from the darkness of the tombs, ran to Jesus, the light of the world. However, the demons were pulling against his reaching Jesus. They were telling him: “You can’t be saved. There is no hope. You are too far gone.”

Too, they propagated lies about Christ. While the demons did speak of the authority of Jesus, they misrepresented the character of Jesus. They presented Jesus as the One who condemns men, not as the One who gives eternal life to men.

Demons are liars and misrepresentatives.

When the man reached Jesus, after hearing the demonic lies, he questioned whether Jesus would treat him with contempt or condemnation? Would Jesus abandon him as everyone else had seemed to do? Or, worse, would Jesus send him away to be harshly tortured?

The man was intimidated and afraid. He recognized Jesus had authority, but questioned whether he was too vile for Jesus to have anything to do with him.

Still, he came. Why? While he feared being condemned by Jesus, he was living in a state where he already felt condemned. He desperately needed to find freedom and, in his heart, he knew Jesus was his only hope.

The man shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me Jesus?”

The manner in which this man questioned Jesus may be less than desirable. But it was, nevertheless, a good question. For anyone who is open and responsive to what Jesus does “want with him,” the answer to this question is humbling and life-changing.

What does Jesus want from man? He wants to save men from their sins and restore them in relationship to the heavenly Father. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Regrettably, many today have listened to the lies of the enemy—like Eve did in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:4). Some picture Jesus as a harsh overseer who is “only out to get them.” They have such a distorted idea of Jesus, that they think He pleasures in condemning men.

Jesus isn’t out to smite men. He longs to save men. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:17-18).

When the demon-possessed man arrived before Jesus, Jesus immediately commanded the evil spirits to come out of him. That shows the character of Jesus. He wants what is best for a man. And, He wants to restore a man into a relationship with Him and the heavenly Father.

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.” (Mark 5:9-10).

When Jesus asked the man his name, he answered, “Legion.” For many years, I’ve misread this. I had understood it was the demons inside the man who answered. But, if you read closely, it reads, “he replied.”

It seems to have been the man himself who answered, “my name is Legion.” He then added, “we are many.” That’s how he described himself.

This man had been so strongly under the suppression of demons that he blindly identified himself with them. While he loathed the demons who subdued him, “he begged Jesus . . . not to send them out of the area” (v 10. italics added). It wasn’t the demons who asked Jesus not to send them from the country, it was the demon-possessed man who asked Jesus not to send them out of the area.

How pitiful? He didn’t want the demons to be cast too far away, because as much as he hatred them, they had become intwined in how he viewed himself.

Yet, while that was pitiful, it’s not unusual. Though people might not voice it, many identify themselves with demonic strongholds in their life—such as addictions, victimization, hatred, greed, unforgiveness, feelings of worthlessness, bitterness, etc.

Regardless of how much a person might loath these things and long for release, demonic strongholds are hard to escape. For, familiar territory is easy to return to, even if dangerous. “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly” (Proverbs 26:11).

When we come to Jesus, we can find release from those demonic strongholds in our life. Jesus came to set the captives free and release prisoners from their darkness (Isaiah 61:1).

Demons must submit to the authority of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. 

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 impure 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.

Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. (Mark 5: 11-17)

Under command from Christ, the demons had to leave the man. There was no battle—only submission to the Lord. In fact, demons are already defeated beings who are fearful to be in the presence of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The demons asked permission to enter into a nearby herd of pigs. Thereafter, Jesus permitted it.

Immediately the herd of pigs rushed down the bank and drowned. Since animals have no spiritual resistance, the pigs followed where they were taken by the demons—down to death.

“Down” and “death” are where demons would take any person who listen to their lies or dabble with their enticements.

However, we have a Savior who is almighty in power. He waits to overthrow and cast out whatever evil comes against us. “For, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Notice the words, “the man who had been possessed” by demons (v. 15, past tense). He became a changed man. He had been possessed by a legion of demons. Yet, as many as there were, they were all cast out. The man was made free and, in Christ, he was also “made new.”

Before Jesus, “for a long time this man had not worn clothes” (Luke 8:27). Afterwards, he was “dressed and in his right mind.” Clothes had been given to him and put on him. That is a picture of how Christ clothes us with garments of salvation and robes of his righteounss (Isaiah 61:10).

The man was also in his right mind after his encounter with Christ. The lies of demons were dispelled by the One who is Truth: Jesus was not against him. Jesus didn’t come to condemn him. Jesus is the source of salvation and hope.

For a long time, this man felt like life was hopeless. In Christ, he experienced glorious hope and wondrous joy in newness of life. For, Jesus is Life.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed” (Mark 5:18-20.)

The man pleaded with Jesus to allow him to follow. For, he wanted to stay in the presence Jesus.

Yet, Jesus had a mission for him in the area of the Decapolis. Jesus left this man in a pagan society to testify about Christ’s goodness and grace. The man who had been demon-possessed went out to become a missionary/preacher. He took the good news of Jesus Christ to his “home,” to his “own people,” and to the surrounding towns.

This man who once had been demon-possessed, was changed to become “God’s special possession,” chosen to declare the praises of the Lord who had called him out of darkness (1 Peter 2:9). His life became a testimony to Christ.

What about the other man that day, from whom Jesus also cast out demons (Matt. 8:28). Did he follow Jesus too? The gospels don’t tell us.

Although, in the absence of their testimony of a life-change for the second man, there is suggestion that, rather than submit his life to the lordship of Jesus, he might’ve only sought out Jesus for what Jesus could do for Him temporarily. He didn’t want to be bound by demons, but he didn’t want to be a follower of Jesus either.

However, not to choose Jesus, is to reject Him. So, in practice, the second man rejected Light and Life, to return to spiritual darkness and death.

To accept Christ, or reject Him. That is a decision all man must choose. There is no neutrality. Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

If not, you can today. Find out how at the link below.

I need Jesus 

 

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