I am writing tonight from the slightly overcast but still beautiful Tampa Bay area.
In the United States, we have an airline, called Southwest, who ask on their commercials, “Want to get away?” In each commercial someone will find themselves in an embarrassing situation, where they would gladly fly to the other side of the world and hide under a rock. The airline then suggests, getting on their plane to get away from it all.
In Mark 5 we read about a man who was in a very embarrassing situation before his conversion. When I tell you everything that happened with this man, you will agree with me, that after his conversion, he would gladly hop on an airplane to get away. However, Jesus sends him on a mission trip-back home!
For sake of time, I am going to highlight the story but you can read it for yourself here.
Sadly, demon activity has not changed much over the years. This man is hanging out in tombs, obsessed with death, much like those controlled by demons today. Jesus is life, and when we don’t have Jesus, all that’s left is death. He refused to be “tamed”, “taught” or “controlled.” The exact words may vary based on your favorite translation, but the idea is the same. He was not going to be bound by Biblical standards, like so many today, who do not want to hear what is right and wrong.
He cut himself. Today many cut themselves trying to find healing, not realizing, Jesus was already cut and wounded to bring them healing. The demoniac was tormented by the presence of Jesus. Today, an unconverted person does not want to be where Jesus can be found. They want nothing to do with Bible study, prayer meeting or family worship.
None of these demonic demonstrations phase Jesus. He heals the man and he becomes converted. In verse 15 it tells us after his conversion, the man is clothed and in his right mind. Luke 8 tells us this man was naked at the beginning of the story. Mark tells us at the end that after the conversion he is clothed. Another sign of demonic activity is wanting to dress improperly or not at all. When we become converted we dress appropriately.
Now that the man is converted we see that he wants to be with Jesus. He tells Him in verse 18 that he wants to be with Jesus. Now I am imagining that if I had been seen by my community, running around naked in a cemetery, that I would now like to jump on a Southwest airlines jet, or any jet for that matter and get away! I think a nice mission trip to the other side of the planet is now in order, so I can preach the gospel about as far away as I can get from the people who saw me running around a cemetery naked, cutting myself. But in verse 19 Jesus sends him on a mission trip-back home! Jesus tells the man to go back home and tell what wonderful things Jesus has done for him. Friend, if Jesus has done wonderful things for you, if He really has changed your life, you don’t need to get away. While foreign mission trips are fun, fruitful and rewarding, chances are Jesus may have a mission field for you right in your very home. Jesus doesn’t send everyone to the other side of the planet, as much as we may sometimes like that idea, especially after an embarrassing moment when we want to get away. Jesus may have a mission trip planned for you right in your very home. The people saw the change in this man. So much so that in verse 15 it says it scared them or made them afraid! It must have been a real shock when the reality of what Jesus had done in this man’s life was seen.
If you run to the other side of the world people won’t see the change. If Jesus has changed your life, you don’t need to be afraid. You can proudly go back home, clothed with the righteousness of Christ and in your right mind, and tell them what wonderful things Jesus has done for you.
Have you noticed several demon possession stories already in the book of Mark? Are these stories relevent to us today?
Mark 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
Here a demon possessed mad has an obsession with death. Is it not the same today? Are not gothic people today obsessed with death?
5:3 Who had [his] dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
5:4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any [man] tame him.
Today there are people in the church (Remember in Mark 1 the demoniac was in the temple) as well as the world who will not be tamed or bound by laws or standards. They want to do as they please without submitting to anyone, yet this is a sign of being controlled by the prince of darkness.
5:5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
Studies show that people who are cutters, and suicidal have been abused, usually sexually. With this man’s obsession with death and cutting, he may have been abused. I am glad Jesus came to be His Savior!
5:6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
5:7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, [thou] Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
Here is a tremendous struggle. The man wants to worship Jesus but is tormented by His presence. Again, it is not Jesus who can’t dwell with sinners, but sinners who don’t want to dwell with God. This man is demon possessed, and so one sign of demon possession is not wanting to be in the presence of God weather it is in the church service, prayer meeting, or family worship.
5:8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, [thou] unclean spirit.
5:9 And he asked him, What [is] thy name? And he answered, saying, My name [is] Legion: for we are many.
Jesus did not need to know His name, but asked, so that the disciples could see what they were up against. On our own we are no match for Satan.
5:10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
5:11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.
5:12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
5:13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
5:14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told [it] in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.
5:15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
Notice being in your right mind and properly clothed go together. Luke tells us this man was naked. The further we are from God the more clothes we are willing to take off. The closer we come to God the more appropriately we dress. For more on this please click here.
5:16 And they that saw [it] told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and [also] concerning the swine.
5:17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.
Hhhmm….They want Jesus to go away. I wonder where those demons went after the pigs drowned. Here is a clue when people are asking Jesus to leave!
5:18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
A sign of demon possession is wanting Jesus to go away. A sign of conversion is wanting to be in His presence.
5:19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.