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

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Early one morning, Jesus and His Twelve disciples landed their boat on the shoreline in the region of Gerasene. Gerasene was a “Gentile” land at that time, on the southeast side of the Sea of Galilee.
 
The region of Gerasenes is sometimes referred to as Gadarenes or Gergesenes. The name “Gadarenes” associates the area with the relatively large town of Gadara, which was inside the territory. Too, Gadara is among the ten towns of the Decapolis, so the region was also called the area of Decapolis.
 
Soon after Jesus arrived in Gerasene, “two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs” ran to Him (Matt. 8:28). Although the gospels of Mark and Luke focus particularly on one of those demon-possessed man, it’s important to remember there were two such men. And there are lessons we can take away, or surmise, from each of the two.
 
Let’s first consider the one whom Mark and Luke write about.
 

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 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 one 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. (Mark 5:1-6)

This demon-possessed man was suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually. He lived in continual torment and pain. To him, life seemed meaningless, merciless, and hopeless. 

He was an outcast from the community and made his “home” among tombs. Under the influence of demonic possession, he dwelt among bodies of the dead, rather than mingle with the living.

Often, because of his misery, he would cut himself. The scars on his body were numerous. Old wounds and fresh cuttings were constant visual and sensual reminders of his condition. Under the spellbound blindness of demonic suppression and their dark “suggestion,” this man believed the lie that he was where he was destined to be.

Life for him, was little more than pain begetting pain. In a sense, he felt the agony upon him was an unescapable punishment which was justly deserved. Maybe he was in a deceptive mindset that he had to endure pain and punishment in this life as penitence for his wrongdoings. Yet, neither the blood nor pain resolved anything. On the contrary, pain and anguish remained, and the overwhelming sense of hopeless grew more profound.

The anguish seemed endless. He cried out “night and day” for rescue from his torment, but he could find none. He searched for release “among the tombs and in the hills.” Yet he found no comfort anywhere, rather among the pits of the earth or in the heights of the land. Wherever he went, whether low or high, there was no deliverance from his suffering. He could find no place, no thing, or no one to console his misery or remove his suffering.

He sensed no compassion from people. On the contrary, his interaction with people was primarily with those trying to bind him up with chains and shackles. They showed no concern for him. They were merely trying to protect themselves from him. They only sought to incarcerate and isolate him from the community.

This man desperately sought out someone who would listen to him—anyone. He wanted someone to show the least bit of compassion. Instead, it seemed people loathed him, rather than love him.

He felt trapped in his dark world. That is where he found himself under this demonic possession. Demonic possession is real. However, demonic possession doesn’t come about instantaneously. For the man, it had been a downward spiraling process. He first had an association with demonic activities in his life that eventually fostered an open—although unrecognized—invitation for demon spirits to control him.

That happens today when people “toy” with the realms of demonic spirits. They don’t realize that an association with evil activities is actually an invitation for demonic spirits into that area of their life.

There is an enticement to things of this world that are contrary to our spiritual well-being. God clearly warns us against those things. Still, there is a lure. And many times, men pursue those things they know can eventually destroy thembecause of the powerful lies and influences of the realms of darkness. Men tell themselves they can just “glance at” or “touch” hellish things without getting burned.

Beware! There are demonic spirits that prey on the susceptible. They desire to destroy you by drawing you deeper and deeper into their dark realm of death and misery (John 10:10). Many today suffer under demonic torment under drug addictions, prostitution, gambling, pornography, sexual deviancies, etc.

Yet, there are “subtle” spiritual realms of darkness that aren’t as obvious on the surface, but can be entrapping. For example, people who harbor guilt, hatred, bitterness, jealousy, shame, unforgiveness, or resentment have a section of their life that is in essence “living in the tombs.”

“In the tombs:” this is a picture of the embodiment of filth and decomposition. For, it is a place for the dead.

In the tombs: that’s where the demon-possessed man was before he saw Jesus. “From the tombs,” he ran to meet Him.

This man had to run because if he slowed down; he thought the evil spirits inside him would easily overcome him. Those demons would’ve fought against him fiercely, screaming for him to turn back.

An intense spiritual battle was waging inside him. We can easily underestimate how powerful the forces were against this man as he pushed forward towards Jesus.

There was an abundance of lies and “distortions of truth” spoken to him by those demons. For, lying is their language (John 8:44). Too, they made accusation after accusation against him, reminding him of his loathsome wretchedness. For, demons are accusers (Rev 12:10). There were a legion of voices telling him, “You are so wicked, you are beyond saving. This Jesus will send you to hell.”

While the demonic spirits were telling him that Jesus is the Son of God, their affirmation of the divinity of Jesus was meant to dissuade him from approaching Jesus.

Not only were the demonic spirits telling him that Jesus would condemn him on the spot. They were presenting themselves as friends to him. For, demons are masters at masquerading (2 Cor. 11:14).

After listening to a multitude of lies from the enemy, this man didn’t know how Jesus would receive him.

Demons are liars and distorters of truth. They repetitively accentuate our failures and filth, telling us that we are hopelessly lost in our unworthiness before a holy God.

Yes, demons are real. And we hear their lies from hell, messaged throughout society. 

But, while their lies can seem like reality, no lie can stand in the light of the real Truth. And Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:4). 

This demon-possessed man made it to Jesus and fell down at His feet. He was afraid, but he was desperate. In his spirit, he knew Jesus was his only hope. He didn’t realize it then, but he had been running away from darkness and death (the tombs) to Light and Life through Christ Jesus.

Consider how this man approached Jesus. Spiritually, this man hosted a multitude of demons—who had engulfed him in sin. He was naked, covered with self-inflicted fresh wounds and old scars. He stank of death having dwelled in tombs. And, he was dirty from laying in mud and filth.

Is this any way to approach the Holy Son of God?

In a spiritual sense, it’s the only way we can. For, “all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). You can only come to Jesus “just as you are,” in all your wretchedness and filth.

Are you suffering under demonic strongholds in your life? Have you tried everything you know to free yourself, but you can’t seem to? Maybe you’ve reached a point of feeling hopeless.

But, there is hope and His name is Jesus. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there in no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Maybe you feel like you’ve done things Jesus won’t forgive. You haven’t. Jesus is ready to forgive all who call upon Him. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Maybe you feel like you’ve rejected Jesus so many times before, that He’s given up on you. He hasn’t given up on you. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Matthew 19:10).

Maybe you are afraid to approach Jesus because you’ve listened to the lies of the world. Lies dissipate when exposed to the light of Truth. “Grace and truth gave through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

No one is beyond the reach of Jesus Christ. There is salvation in His name. For, “the one who comes from above is above all” (John 3:31). And the Lord is a merciful, compassionate Savior, who longs to forgive men of their sins, and restore them to Himself.

Do you want to know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, but question whether he will forgive you? There is good news. He is waiting on you. Read more at this link:

http://toliveischrist.com/can-god-forgive-me/

Click here for final part of this study.

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