A man often walked through a cemetery on his way home. One night, though, unaware that a new grave had been dug in his path, he tumbled in. For some time he struggled to get out of the 7 foot deep grave, but finally gave up and settled down for the night.
An hour later, a farmer out possum hunting came walking through the cemetery and he too fell into the grave. He began a desperate attempt to get out, unaware that there was anyone else in the grave. The first man listened to him for a few minutes, then reached over in the pitch darkness and laid a hand on his shoulder. "You can’t get out of here,” the man said to the farmer. But the farmer did.
Now a cemetery is not a place I’d want to spend one night, but as we’ll see in a moment, one man was spending a lot of time there.
In looking back over Mark, we see Jesus attracting crowds, getting into a boat, then traveling across the lake. While enroute, a great storm blows up while Jesus is sleeping. The disciples lives are in jeopardy, and Jesus wakes up just in time to Calm the Storm. In escaping the crowd, Jesus leads His disciples into dangerous waters and across the lake to where there are mostly gentiles—certainly not the type of people the disciples were expecting. Over in Capernaum and the area controlled by Jews, it didn’t take long for Jesus’ Presence to draw a crowd of the curious, the desperate or the angry.
The Presence of Christ in the beginning of Mark 5 didn’t take long to draw attention of another sort.
The presence of Christ draws us, but it also draws the attention of the demonic. This possessed man saw Jesus from a distance in vs. 6 and came running. The Presence of Jesus sent this unnaturally strong man to his knees before Jesus, begging for mercy. The man who was unrestrainable, cowered in fear before the Presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
But you know, looking at this man like this, made me wonder what he was like before the demonic got a hold of him.
Do you think he was on the front & leading edge of a radical new concept of cheap and affordable housing? Just testing out the product?
Do you think he was part of a Escape Artist Training School so that’s why he had so many chains and restraints about him?
Do you think he was a part of an early clothing optional time-share? After all you learn later in v. 15 that people were surprised to see him clothed.
All of these things we read about he became as a result of the evil, unclean and demonic spirits that dominated his life.
Satan’s Power & Influence
Preoccupation & Fascination with death—death was the only place the demonic were truly at home—and they wanted to take the man with them.
Cut off from Society—anti-social
Out of his mind—needed the renewing of his mind
Nakedness—no dignity, living more like an animal
Steal—this man’s life, family
kill & destroy him
that is the same goal that the demonic has for each one of our lives. To steal, kill & destroy. Sometimes we’ll never know we’re under attack. You may never feel it, hear it, see it, but Satan would love to have that kind of influence over you and have you live in and around death, rather than the life of Power and Promise that God has for you.
I do not say that so you will be afraid or in fear—In Christ we have Nothing to Fear. I am one who believes that the Believer in Jesus cannot be possessed by the demonic. We can be attacked, tempted, influenced, manipulated, but not controlled. Why? First and foremost because we have been marked and sealed with the Holy Spirit—God’s seal of ownership over our soul. Because our heart, our soul is the residence and temple of the Holy Spirit—and He will not allow any squatters to move into His house.
For the Christian, there are two extremes that must be avoided with reference to satanic activity. As C. S. Lewis aptly put it:
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors,
The Presence of Christ reveals the spiritual enemies in our lives.
The Power of Christ
Sees Jesus coming from a Distance—
Ran and fell on his knees—knows he cannot hide from Jesus
Knows Who Jesus is and Knows Jesus is more powerful—Son of the Most High God—the demons believe according to James and shudder—they know who He is, but they do not believe or trust in Him—the demons are in total rebellion to Jesus.
Demons fears torture—because that’s what it’s doing to the man—but also b/c if anyone combines both the power and the authority—it would be Jesus. The demonic is torturing this man b/c they know it hurts the heart of God. Now they fear torture from the Rightful Ruler, the All Powerful, Almighty, second Person of the Trinity, God in the Flesh, Savior of the world, Jesus.
This demon is totally submissive to Jesus, begging for his own existence
Jesus asks the demon his name?
Legion—Roman Legions were up to 6,000 men. I don’t believe it’s supposed to be an exact number, but it’s a large number. Just like Elijah v. the Prophets of Baal, Jesus stands alone--even though they are many—and He is but one—the Many cower before Him.
That’s who’s feet we walk behind—Has the Power to Control even a Legion of Demonic Spirits—and He does so with ease.
They ask; beg for permission—to not be sent into the Abyss—but instead to be sent into a herd of pigs the Decision belonged to Jesus
They cower for permission to go into the pigs—The decision belonged to Jesus
They feared being sent into the Abyss, b/c Jesus has the authority & power to send them there and eventually He will, but this moment was not the time.
Jesus Power—He has Power of Creation with the calming of the Storm—He has power over Sickness and Death as we looked at last week in the account of Jairus and his daughter—Jesus also proves to have power over the Spiritual—the Demonic.
And that Power is available to us—Ephesians 3:16-21—“ I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
EPH 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
the Power of the Cross, The Power of the Blood of Christ, the Power of the Resurrection is what is ours as believers in Christ
the Power of Forgiveness and Reconciliation with God. The demonic has no place, and no authority, and no power of us—that’s why, when you or I submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, he will flea from us. Satan and the demonic world lives in fear of Believers who have submitted themselves to God.
That’s why we live in
The Promise of Christ
Matthew 9 & 10--37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
MT 10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
All authority has been given to Christ—and we are His ambassadorsThis is the reality of the world they lived in. but is it just them? Is it no longer our world?
Do we still live in that world? Do we still live in the world of demonic influence and possession? Does Satan still affect people’s lives emotionally, physically, spiritually?
If you want to believe it in the NT, if you want to hold the Bible high as the Reliable, Authoritative Word of God then you should believe that the world Jesus walked and lived in is not really much different than the world we live in. We haven’t changed all that much. Our spiritual enemy is not yet cast into the abyss.
Do not make the mistake of assuming that all NT claims of demonic influence or possession is merely due to the ignorance of the people of the day. Because you would be lowing Jesus into that category as well. He could rightly diagnose and cure all kinds of sicknesses and diseases, even reverse death itself.
He knew how to handle a sickness or injury. He also knew a demon when He saw one—in all cases, the demon or demons knew Him.
Are we better at figuring out what is a real medical condition than they were in NT times? Yep, you bet. Back then a lot of things were blamed on demons that would now be treated in hospitals. It is totally reasonable for Doctors and Hospitals to search out a physical, mental, medical condition to problems. It is totally appropriate for parents to seek that kind of treatment and to have their child receive such treatment.
There was a case just last week, among several in the last few months of parents in Oregon watching their child die from a treatable medical condition because they believed that if they just had enough faith, then God would heal them. No. do not believe such nonsense.
While many if not most cases today may be medically caused, don’t make the mistake of assuming that everything is physical—sometimes our conditions can be spiritual. The NT teaches that the demonic can make a person deaf or mute.
Can a demon possess a believer, No I do not believe so. I do not believe the Temple of the Holy Spirit can be overcome and evicted by a demon. Can a believer be attacked, can a believer be influenced by, can a demon mask his influence to appear like a medical condition? Yes.
You should also know that those kinds of attacks still happen—they happened to me last week, the night we got back from the SBC Convention.
What I’m going to tell you is not to boast or brag, not to draw attention to myself, but to let you know that something happened that Thursday that hasn’t happened in 12 years.
I say all this to let you know that this world is still a reality—and that if you are unaware of it, or if you scoff at it—you will be unaware of it’s affect on you and unprepared for when, if ever, the attack comes your way. It was not by my might, it was not by my power, but by His Spirit that this attack was fought off.
We live in the Promise of Christ so that we can truly live as His agents in this world dominated by sin, dominated and under the influence of the demonic. When we live in the Promise that He will be with us wherever we o we can do what Jesus asked of this man.
Greek literally .... "Go to your house to your own."
1) NIV ............. "Go home to your family."
2) KJV ............. "Go home to thy friends." Jesus is not asking man to open a scroll.
b. Asking him to open his heart to people who need to hear that God is at work in people's lives.
This is the second man Jesus told to Go and Tell—the first was back in Mark 1: 44 and the man with Leprosy—the unclean physical skin condition—a Jew. Now Jesus is telling a Gentile with an unclean spiritual condition to Go and Tell his friends and family. 2 men, outcasts to their society were the first ones Jesus sent out. They were both completely transformed by His Power.
You’ll notice that we skipped a segment of this story and I want you to see it and see it clearly in a way that I hadn’t noticed before. It describes the Passion of Christ.
The Passion of Christ
Look at Jesus—The Storm on the Lake—the disciples lives at stake
Crossed over to Gentile territory—but in vs. 21—“Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake” He immediately came back across—
He would have known the storm was coming, He would have known the reaction of the people, known that He wouldn’t stay very long.
What was it that brought Jesus all the way across the lake, into gentile territory?
One man… a man who was so lost, so out of his mind, so hurt and in pain and possessed—that he couldn’t live around living people anymore.
He needed Freedom. He needed Deliverance. He needed the Power of Christ to Transform his life—and Jesus went all that way for him.
That is His Passion—to seek and to save that which was lost—those held in captivity to the Prince of Darkness-He wants to bring into the Kingdom of Light.
Do you realize that how many people around us every day are for all practical purposes in the same boat as this man? Sure, they’re not foaming at the mouth, running around naked, breaking chains—but they are just as lost, just as harassed, just as hurt and in pain, just as captive to the enemy—
You have the Presence of Christ
You Have the Power of Christ
You have the Promise of Christ
What we need more and more of, what we need to be filled with is the Passion of Christ
I don’t know where you are today…