Mark 5:7-9 – “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.” NJKV
We’re in chapter five of Mark, and Jesus and His disciples have just experienced the storm on the Sea of Galilee. It is the same night, and they have made it to the other side.
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.Mark 5:1-2 NKJV
When we think about making it to the other side of the storm, we think about a time of relaxation or celebration, not more trouble! But that is exactly what Jesus and His disciples ran into when they crossed to the other side, a man under the influence of demons!
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.Mark 5:3-5 NKJV
The influence of the demons was so pronounced in the man’s life that Mark shares with us some scary things. He tells us that the man lived in the tombs and that no one could bind him, even with chains. He says that even when people would put chains on him, he would pull them apart and break the shackles into pieces. The demonic influence was so strong that no could tame him as he roamed through the mountains crying out and cutting himself with stones. This sounds like someone in a horror film. Someone whose dwellings in the tombs would never have to worry about a visitation from us, as the people of the city also avoided him. But God!
I easily remember encounters I have had with people possessed by demons. They are pretty unforgettable. One of the first time happened when I was a college student. We were in a service and the demons started manifesting through this young person. As the demon made itself known, the person became loud and distracting. When they tried to remove this 100 pound individual from the service, they were met with a supernatural strength they hadn’t bargained for. Grown men tried to remove the individual to no avail. It became a spectacle. I can’t believe that I don’t remember a deliverance, but I surely remember the utter embarrassment of how the grown men were unable to handle the situation!
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!”Mark 5:6-8 NKJV
Jesus never encountered a situation that was too much for Him! When this demon possessed man rushed towards Jesus screaming, I’m pretty sure He didn’t bat an eye. Although he worshipped Him, (because every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess), it wasn’t from a heart of worship! I am pretty sure there was a tug of war over that man’s soul as there was something in him crying for deliverance, while the deons in him were vying for the right to remain in him. But Jesus gave a command that the unclean spirit would come out of the man, and there was no struggling with individual!
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.Mark 5:9-10 NKJV
Legion is a word that described a group of Roman soldiers. Within this group were 6,000 soldiers. Does this lead us to believe that the man was possessed with 6,000 demons? Quite possibly, considering all of the things they were driving him to do! What we can infer is that there were certainly a lot of demons living in this man. This was an unfortunate situation, but Jesus was the One who could handle it without breaking a sweat!
I believe in deliverance ministry. I personally prefer to not get into a situation where I have to deal with demons, but it does happen. I’ll share an experience from a few years ago. We were in our women’s ministry service when a woman walked into the service who was demon possessed. As the service progressed, so did her antics. As I was sitting in the front, I began to pray. I remember saying something like, “Lord, I don’t want to have to deal with this, but I have to pass her to go to the bathroom, and I really need to go. If she is there when I return, I will deal with it.”
As I got out of my seat, I was met by a woman in the church. She was concerned that things were getting out of hand and offered to call her husband and brother-in-law who were not far from the church. I told her not to call for I would handle it when I came back from the bathroom. Of course, my plan was that God would have encouraged her to leave before I returned because I didn’t really know how to handle it. But I had put myself out there, and now I was committed. Sure enough, she was still there! Lord, why me?
I opened the door to the sanctuary, got her attention, and asked her if I could speak to her. Of course, I didn’t want an audience. The word was going forth and I didn’t want to add to the distraction. She stood up in the back of the church, faced me, and I thought, okay, we are doing this the hard way! Then the demon said, “You want me to leave don’t you?” I responded with a yes, I did! Then the most amazing thing happened. She gathered her things and left! Whew! Thank you, Jesus! In hind sight, I should have said that I wanted the demon to come out of her, but I’m grateful for the way things ended!
And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV
I don’t believe we have to major in demon chasing. I also don’t think a demon is in everything. When they show up there is no question about it. But when they show up, we don’t have to be afraid, we can operate in the kingdom as Jesus did, and set the captive free!
The event ended well for the demon possessed man, but not for Jesus!
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.Mark 5:15-17 NKJV
Jesus sent those demons into the swine, and they caused the swine to commit suicide by running over the hill. The man was set free, clothed, and in his right mind; but the townspeople were afraid of this kind of power. They asked Jesus to leave! Had they understood who was in their midst, they would have begged Him to stay! Wonderful Jesus!