These are my notes from a sermon series I did through the gospel of Mark. It has not been proofed for spelling or grammatical errors. I present it to you as-is.
Take your Bibles and open them to Mark 5. We are going through the gospel of Mark and learning what it means to follow Jesus. Along the way we are discovering what following Jesus looks like and what it does not. We are discovering who Jesus is and who He is not. Over the past couple of week we have been looking at Jesus delivering a man from an army of demons.
- So far, we have seen the need for Jesus (vs.1-5). Our need for Jesus is seen in the demon possessed man who serves as an illustration of how far sin and the kingdom of darkness can take an individual. He represents the total depravity of man. No one could help him, but Jesus. His need is great.
- Then we saw the power of Jesus (vs. 6-13). The power of Jesus is seen in how the army of demons reacted to Jesus presence and authority. They recognized Jesus as the sovereign and majestic God that He is. They bowed before His authority and submitted to His authority. Jesus is supreme over sin, kingdom of darkness, and the demonic world.
- Today we are going to take a look at the response to Jesus (vs. 14-20). The response to Jesus is seen in the two drastically different reactions as demonstrated by the man whom Jesus delivered who wanted to be with Jesus and the crowd who wanted Jesus to leave.
Let’s read about this incredible event and make some observations for our lives.
So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. 4 Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.
6 When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. 7 With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.”
9 Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” 10 Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place.
11 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. 12 “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.” 13 So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
14 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. 15 A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. 16 Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. 17 And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. 19 But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” 20 So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them. (NLT)
There are two key responses to Jesus regarding this event. We see these two responses today.
Some people push Jesus away
The first response is some people push Jesus away.
Mark tells us in verse 14, The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. They ran back to their families, friends, and strangers telling them what just happen. Those people told others and those people told others. It spread like wildfire. As a result, People rushed out to see what had happened.
Verse 15 says, A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. Then Mark says, “He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane….” Mark mentions two things about this man.
- First we are told he was “fully clothed.” Clothing does two things.
- Clothing gives a person identity. Clothing can identify you as a Gentile, Jew, farmer, shepherd, blacksmith or something else. The kingdom of darkness had taken away his identity, but Jesus has given it back.
- Clothing gives a person dignity. During Jesus’ crucifixion they stripped Him of his clothes as a way of mocking Him and taking away his dignity. The kingdom of darkness had taken this man’s dignity away. Jesus had given this man’s dignity back to Him.
- Not only was he fully clothed, but he was sitting there “perfectly sane.” He was in his right mind. He was of sound mind and self-controlled. He was smiling at the right times and was alert, laughing, and listening. He acted human.
When I think of this man at that moment I cannot help but think of 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (NLT). I’m confident that Jesus took the time to tell this man what had just happened to him. I’m sure Jesus explained the kingdom of God to Him and what God offers Him. So there he sits – transformed, changed, delivered, healed, redeemed, and restored.
But Mark makes a startling statement about the crowd that was gathering. He says in verse 15, and they were all afraid. You would think there would be gratitude, thankfulness, excitement or maybe an outbreak of a revival. Instead, you find fear. They started out afraid of the demon possessed man, now they are afraid of Jesus. How strange. They were up against transparent, awesome goodness, impeccable holiness, supernatural power, and invincible love. And they didn’t like it. They recoiled from it. They feared it.
Mark is not talking about simply being nervous, but extreme fear. The word “afraid” (from phobeo) refers to extreme fear or terror. Their confusion, ignorance, doubt, misunderstandings and superstitions all played a part in their reaction to Jesus.
Mark goes on to say in verse 16, Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. And look at what the crowd does in verse 17, “And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.”[i] They are saying, “Jesus, I don’t understand you and I don’t know why you do what you do in the way you do it, but it disrupts my life, my finances, and what I’m used to. I would rather keep things the way they are rather than have you disrupt my life. So, I begging you to leave me alone.” Earlier that day the demon-possessed man was telling Jesus to leave him alone, now it’s the people. Instead of a wave of revival going through the crowd, there was a wave of rejection.
Some people are drawn to Jesus
The crowd responded by pushing Jesus away, but notice the man’s response of being drawn to Jesus. The delivered man wanted more of Jesus.
Mark says in verse 18, As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. Jesus had just delivered this man, transformed this man and made this man into a new creation. This man had a new life, a new purpose, a new identity and his dignity had been restored. The love and power of Jesus drew this man to Jesus. He wanted to be with Jesus. This is what happens when we are truly saved. When we understand the level of sin and depravity that we have been delivered from our heart’s desire is to be with Jesus. When we are born again we are drawn toward Jesus. We begin to want to be with Him and learn from Him like a man thirsty for water or hungry for food. Jesus becomes essential.
But Jesus had a plan for this man. Mark tells us in verse 19, But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.”
- We are not told exactly what the man told his family and others, but I’m confident that he shared about what his life was like before Jesus, what happened when he met Jesus, and how Jesus changed His life. I’m sure he talked about how trapped he was by sin and the kingdom of darkness and how Jesus released him from that spiritual prison, restored his dignity, renewed his mind, and gave him a divine purpose.
- This man was a living example of the mercy of God.
- I want you to notice a contrast here. You have the man who has just been delivered begging to go with Jesus, but Jesus is telling him to return to his family and tell them what the Lord has done, while the disciples who are watching this were told to leave family and friends and follow Jesus. For some followers of Jesus their mission field is across the country or around the world and for others its in their own family and neighborhoods. Every follower has a mission. Every believer has an audience. Every Christian is given a task. It will not look the same as others, but you have one.
Then Mark says in verse 20, So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them. (NLT)
- As he went from town to town describing what Jesus had done for him Mark says that “everyone was amazed at what he told them.” The word “amazed” means “to be extraordinarily impressed” or “to admire or respect.” The people, town after town, were impressed and admired what had happened to this man. They were believing his story.
- Sometime later, Jesus would return to this area and travel around among the Ten Towns and this time when Jesus returned He would be welcomed, crowds would follow Him, they would listen to Him, and He would do more miracles. Some would say a revival has broken out. One of the reasons why so many would welcome Jesus and listen to Jesus is because the man who Jesus had delivered had been telling them “everything the Lord had done” for him and how the Lord had been “merciful” to him. He had been telling his story about Jesus.
This event teaches an important lesson that should not be missed: you don’t need to know everything to tell your story about Jesus. You don’t need to be a theologian to share your story of how the Lord has been merciful to you. You don’t need to have a bunch of Scripture memorized to tell your story of how Jesus transformed you. It’s as simple as telling others that you were once blind, but now you see.
What was your life like before Jesus? What events and people did God use to bring you to a saving knowledge of Jesus? How has your life changed since you became a new creation? Tell your story. Share it with your children. Share it with your spouse. Share it with your parents. Record it. Share it on Facebook. You have a story to tell and the best person to tell your story is you.
Which reaction best represents you? Pushing Jesus away or wanting to be with Jesus and sent out by Him?
[i] Noticed the crowd “pleaded” (parakaleo) with Jesus to leave. In this context the word means “to urge strongly,” “to appeal to,” “to urge,” or “to make a strong request.” “Pleading” – (parakaleo) meaning to entreat or beseech. Their reaction revealed the calloused depravity of their lost condition. They preferred the company of dangerous demons to that of the divine Deliverer. Why would “the crowd” ask Jesus to leave? Why not ask Him to stay and perform other miracles as well? Were there others who needed to be delivered from the kingdom of darkness hold on their life? Were there people who needed to be healed, delivered or set free from disease, illnesses, or demons? I’m sure there were, but the people “pleaded with Jesus to go away” probably because they didn’t want Jesus to do any more damage to the local economy! Our Lord does not stay where He is not wanted, so He left. What an opportunity these people missed!