Jesus And Demons (Mark 5:1-20)

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COMMUNION

Mark 2:15-17
15  And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
16  And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17  And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus spent time reclining at a table.

  • God wastes no time and uses every moment with purpose.
  • Yet, we see Jesus reclining. So, Jesus is teaching us God values leisure and lingering in relationships with one another. It is good to pause to pray and play. There is faith value in enjoying our friendships with one another.
  • When we come to the table, it is to recline with Jesus. Be still. Remember Jesus: His life, compassion and care, His power and presence, His suffering, His promised hope.
  • Take some moments to reflect on Jesus.
    • When you picture Jesus, what words do you long to hear Him speak?
    • Share words of praise for how He satisfies and saves you.
  • Eat the bread.

 

Jesus spent time eating with sinners.

  • As we come to the table, we are reminded we are graced.
  • We are undeserving of our placed seat. The only element we have contributed to our salvation is our sin.
  • Jesus takes our sinfulness and exchanges it with His righteousness. If you are a Christian you are forgiven of the penalty of sin and free of the power of sin. The blood of Jesus cleanses you from all sin and transforms your eternal destiny.
  • Take some moments to
    • When you picture Jesus, what words do you long to speak to Him?
    • Share words of confession, repentance, and intercession.

 

  • Drink the cup

 

O The Blood…

 

MOTIVATE

Nikolas Cruz, a troubled 19-year-old has been charged with the premeditated murder of 17 people at his former high school in Parkland, Florida. He told authorities that “demons” gave him instructions on how to commit one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. Investigators told ABC News that Cruz said he heard voices in his head described as demons as he murdered his victims Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

I’ve seen a lot of insensitive and irrational comments and views on both sides. Regardless of your views of gun violence and gun laws, mental illness or fbi procedures, we all can agree there’s a deep sadness felt at the loss of life, especially those of children and school teachers. Undoubtedly, mass murder of the innocent is madness and wicked.

Today, I want us to read a text of Jesus encountering evil and see how Jesus deals with demonic individuals. The Mark 5 textual circumstances are vastly different from recent events. So, we’ll first examine the text and then make summary application.

EXAMINE           Mark 5:1-20               Jesus and Demons 6B26EEAC-6BD1-42DE-B1B6-27855A8CE408

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus has 8 encounters with demons in Mark’s Gospel.

  1. Jesus healing crowds of people oppressed by demons (Mark 1:32, 34).
  2. Jesus preaching and casting out demons (Mark 1:39).
  3. Jesus commissioning the apostles to preach and have authority to cast out demons (Mark 3:15).
  4. Jesus is accused of being possessed by demons (Mark 3:22).
  5. Jesus ministering to and healing a man possessed by a legion of demons (Mark 5:1-20).
  6. Jesus’s disciples casting out demons (Mark 6:13).
  7. Jesus healing the child daughter of a Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:25-30).
  8. Jesus telling disciples not to dismiss those casting out demons in Jesus’s name (Mark 9:38-39).

Before we engage Mark 5 text, I share this…

  • I believe in demonic activity and a real devil.
    • Bible teaches an unseen spiritual realm (2Kings 6:15-18; Ephesians 6:12).
    • Bible teaches a unique and formidable enemy (Gen3:1; Mat4:1; 2Cor4:4-6; 1Pet5:8; Rev20:7-8).
  • I have ministered to those who have encountered demonic activity.
    • oppression-darkness-unusual activity (3x in my ministry / Nica also)
    • sin is demonic with response of gospel and Jesus’s Lordship, resist the devil (Eph 6;1Pet5;Jas3)
    • afflictions and mental illness with response of prayer AND professional medical counsel

I agree with C.S. Lewis rightly saying, “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, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”[1]

Mark 5:1-20

  • Gerasenes: Jesus entering a Gentile region.
    • Jesus doesn’t stay safe in rural Nazareth or familiar city of Jerusalem, but traveled beyond Jewish regions.
    • House in North Beach that was in woods and “haunted.” We’d walk up and throw rocks then run…
    • Christians must follow the pattern of Jesus entering the lives of those who need help (cf. Mk 2:17)

 

  • When Jesus stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of tombs a man with an unclean spirit.
    • Immediate welcome… Jesus didn’t have a pity party saying, “look what the world is coming to,” bc Jesus knew what He was going to do. As Christians we say “look what/who has come into the world.”

 

  • Lived in the tombs: people experiencing deep problems live in social isolation
    • God’s view of pagan nations: Isaiah 65:2-4 “a rebellious people who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks; who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat pigs flesh, and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels”
  • Unclean: Mark emphasizes this with the mention of a man coming out of the tombs, which in contact with dead people made a Jew unclean (Num 19:11). Further, Mark mentions pigs were present during this encounter; another unclean aspect (Lev 11:7-8).
  • Luke’s Gospel says the man was naked. The man is marginalized and demonized but Jesus still interacts.
  • Uncontrollable and unsafe – chained but could not be subdued.
    • Mark’s description is more fitting of a ferocious animal than of a human being; indeed, the Greek word for “subdue,” damazō, is used of taming a wild beast in (James 3:7).[2]
    • Astonishing contrast of the previous narrative in Mark 4:39-41 of Jesus controlling wind and waves and everyone fearful.
      • Poor disciples… they go from trauma of storm to terror of evil spirits.
    • Unstable – night and day crying out among tombs and cutting self
      • Self-harm reasons vary: shame, guilt, punishment, distraction. Overcoming isn’t easy but can occur in time by understanding God’s cure, people’s care, and discerning patterns.[3]
    • Mark’s narrative describes the spiritual warfare of circumstances (nature, demonic forces) attempting to keep Jesus away from this area. Yet, Jesus prevails. Light always overcomes the darkness.

 

  • The human condition apart from Jesus is depraved, dark, and disoriented from God (demonic).
    • Ephesians 2:1-3 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind…”
    • Colossians 1:21 “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds”
    • BUT GOD… rich in mercy…

mark 5 jesus with demoniac

  • When the demonic man saw Jesus
    • He reverenced & recognized Jesus’s identity & authority: ran and fell down [προσκυνέω] before him… what have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God… do not torment me (Mark 5:6-7)
      • Demons fear and believe in God (James 2:19). They have accurate orthodoxy but adverse orthopraxy.
        • Disciple’s faith may not always be perceptive as demons, but their lifestyle practice is to be repentant and growing in obedience.
        • Demonic faith is hypocritical… knowing but not acting on it.

 

  • Demons will be tormented/judged (Revelation 19:10).

 

  • Demons are subject to the Lord. Even a legion of demons are no rival to Jesus’s lordship. “Legion” is a military term designating the largest troop unit in the Roman army, some 5,600 soldiers.[4] The demons were cast out of the man with a simple command, contrasting long formulas of spells or incantations as Greek or Egyptian pagan priests.

 

  • When demons left, not everyone celebrated.
    • Jesus sent the demonic legion into two-thousand pigs – – – that’s a lot of bacon!
      • Good for the possessed man.
      • Bad for the pigs that rushed off a hillside and drown in sea.
      • Bad for the man who owned the pigs. (Mark 5:14).
        You can purchase a pig for roasting for ~$200, so for this man few hundred thousand dollars.
      • The pig herdsmen told the villagers and they begged Jesus to leave their city because they were afraid (Mark 5:15, 17). Their fear was of either Jesus disrupting their comfort and routines, or they feared what Rome would do once they found out about Jesus; likely a bit of both. The liberated man had now become a mirror to those enslaved with sophisticated depravity and demons. Also, when God solves problems sometimes it costs our pigs; are you prepared to lose everything to gain Jesus?
        • à Who is someone that would surprise & shock you that they came to faith in Jesus? Is this narrative an encouragement of God’s power and your witness opportunities?
        • à Does your faith community allow God to interrupt routines for His transformation?
  • The oppressed man is liberated and begged to follow Jesus (Mark 5:18). But, notice Jesus doesn’t allow the man in the boat, but instead sends him home to give report what the Lord has done for him. And then, the man listens and proclaims in the Decapolis (10 cities) all Jesus had done and many are amazed (Mark 5:19-20).
    • Jesus did not expect the oppressed man to fit into the mold of the current disciples. Each person who follows Jesus has a unique path. Most importantly, Jesus challenged the man to be a witness in his home environment.
      • Where has Jesus sent you? Who does Jesus want you to give report for how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you?
      • What comparative molds are you attempting to follow but, if you reflected, realize Jesus has different expectations for you?

APPLY/THINK

  • What demons are you facing? What are you inviting in your heart & home?
  • Can I be DEMON POSSESSED? To answer this question you simply ask, “Have I trusted in the Trinitarian (Father-Son-Spirit) God for salvation? Am I in holy fellowship with God?
    2Cor 6:14 “what fellowship has light with darkness?”
    Romans 8:9 “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”
    Colossians 1:13, 2:13-15 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

 

  • How can Christians care for those oppressed:

#1 Encounter & Encourage:

Statistically, those who struggle with mental health is a growing population (1 in 5)[5], and we all can get better at serving these individuals, their families and caretakers. This should be especially true of those who claim to follow Jesus (Matthew 25:40; Luke 14:13-14).

  • A person’s worth is not measured by ability but identity made in God’s image.
  • We encounter through personalizing statistics and humanizing circumstances. We care for and counsel people who are complex, not fixed labels.
  • Mental health and disability are often without a potluck, meaning there is often little ongoing care for these individuals, families and caretakers. So, again we try to raise this awareness of families within our church and how we love and are able to serve them regularly.
  • We may not be able to offer professional counsel or create wholeness for a person, but we could offer a casserole, or childcare, or coat of paint or clean interior/exterior of house. This is the ministry of burden bearing (Galatians 6:2).[6] So look for those who are burdened. Develop the habit and the skill of spotting those burdens, and determine that you will meet them, one casserole or one hug or one visit or one prayer at a time. As Martin Luther wrote, ‘Christians must have strong shoulders and mighty bones’—sturdy enough, that is, to carry heavy burdens.’

 

#2 Equip 
The gospel and God’s Word addresses our struggles of sin, suffering, and identity in very real and unique ways, but the Christian faith is not opposed to care from “secular” sources, as all truth is God’s truth.

  • SPBC has members involved or relationships with executive boards of NAMI, TACA, and others.
  • Below are a brief list of articles, books, and organizations for a Christian perspective on the topic.

Emotional Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero
https://www.amazon.com/Emotionally-Healthy-Spirituality-Impossible-Spiritually/dp/0310348498/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

[1] C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1971), p. 3.

[2] James Edwards, Pillar NT Commentary, Mark 5:3.

[3] More info: http://www.biblicalcounselingcenter.org/how-to-stop-self-injury/ and https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-conditions/related-conditions/self-harm

[4] James Edwards, Pillar NT Commentary, Mark 5:8-10.

[5] https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers

[6] https://www.challies.com/christian-living/an-extraordinary-skill-for-ordinary-christians/

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