Mark 5:1-20




This morning, as we continue our series on the Life of Christ, we turn to the Mark 5:1-20 where we find a confrontation between our Lord Jesus and a demon possessed man. Of course, our Lord will win the confrontation, and we will see some of the spiritual lessons involved.


The event took place right after the great storm on the Sea of Galilee.




Vs. 1 - Our Lord is entering an area that is on the opposite side of the Lake from where He performed much of His ministry.  It is a largely Gentile area. He probably coming on shore near a little village called Kersa.


Vs. 2 - The tombs mentioned here were either natural or man-made caves in the side of a hill. These caves were burial places. They were also the haunt of demented men.


It says that the man had an "unclean spirit".

We would call him a demon-possessed man.


Vs. 3 - No man can bind this demoniac. He is too strong!

I am reminded that no man is strong enough to resist Satan in his own power.


Vs. 4 - The neighbors evidently tried on a number of occasions to bind this man but it was impossible to keep him bound. I can imagine a bunch of local men holding him down while others clasped chains around him. But he managed to break free from the strongest of chains. According to Mark, this man was untamable.


Vs. 5 - Notice how distraught this man was. He spent his nights and days cutting himself and crying. Satan had quite a hold on this man.


Allow me to remind you of what we were like before we were saved.

We were probably not demon possessed, but we were under Satan's control. He was running our lives, no matter how peaceful, or religious we thought we were. Ephesians 2:1-3


This is why it is so important to reach the unsaved. They are in Satan's dominion and in his bondage.

They need Christ!


Vs. 6 - This man comes down, perhaps to attack, and finds the Lord Jesus. Because the demoniac is in the presence of the God of the universe, even he, a demon, through the man he possessed, bowed down and gave homage.


It makes me think. We are Christians. God is our Father. Jesus is our Savior. How often do we bow the knee to them in reverence and glad adoration? Psalms 95:6


I am also reminded of the great day when Philippians 2:9-11 will be fulfilled.





Vs. 7 - I find two very ironic things in this verse.


First, please note that while demons recognize Jesus as who He truly is, "Son of the most high God," there are liberal Christian Theologians who deny this truth. They deny the deity of Christ, but the demons do not.


Second, I am amused to find the demons who were tormenting this poor man cried out, "Torment me not." Here the tormentors are asking that they not be tormented. They could dish it out, but they couldn't take it.


Vs. 8 - The demons were pleading for mercy because Jesus had commanded them to come out! Notice they can not fight back against the Son of God.  If Satan and his demons can not resist the Lord Jesus, who should we send to the door the next time they come knocking, trying to tempt us? The Lord himself! 1 Peter 5:8-9


Vs. 9 - I believe that Jesus knew the name of the demon. He wanted those watching to hear the testimony of who this was. The demon states that his name is "Legion."


A Roman legion was made up of about 6,000 infantrymen. The one speaking is the leader, or spokesperson for the rest.

Although we do not know how many demons were actually in the man, it was certainly a great number to carry the name "Legion".


Vs. 10 - They continue to request that remain in the area.


Vss. 11-12 - There were a number of swine feeding in the area. They were being watched by herdsmen.

For the Jews, the pigs were unclean animals.

The demons felt that going to the swine was better than going into the abyss.


Vs. 13 - The demons were allowed to enter the swine. They are "spooked" and run off a steep place and into the sea.


Why did Jesus permit the entry of the demons into the pigs?


Perhaps it was to show the former demoniac just what forces had lived within him.

Perhaps it is to show us as believers, the awesomeness and awfulness of Satan's power.


Some have a problem with this destruction of property. And we could speculate as to why Jesus permitted it.


But why not just say, "Jesus is God. And as God He does what is right."

By this we mean, Jesus as God allows this destruction, so it must have been the right thing to do.  Let us accept the fact that Jesus knew what He was doing.


Vs. 14 - The destruction of a large heard of swine got the attention of those in town and country. They came out to investigate!


Vs. 15 - Here's the biggest surprise of all. The former demoniac is now seated - He's calm and under control!


He's also clothed - Before he ran around naked.


He was in his right mind. He was sane. You could talk to him. They probably had not seen the man like this before.


They were afraid. And when a person comes to Christ, and experiences great change, those who are unsaved, may ever be a little afraid of this new situation.


This demoniac is a picture of each new Christian. August Van Ryn used three words to describe the great change that takes place in us when we are truly saved. August Van Ryn, Meditations in Mark, (Neptune, New Jersey, Loizeaux Brothers, 1957), p. 123




When a person comes to Christ as Savior he finds that he can "sit", just as the former demoniac could.

There is no longer the restless of guilt.

There is no longer the fear of eternal punishment.

There is no longer a striving to try and earn salvation by doing good works or keeping the law.

Romans 5:1, Matthew 11:28-30




The man in our story was now clothed, after he had been naked.

Remember that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags."

When we come to be saved God declares us as righteous, as we saw in Romans 5:1.


God has given us a "garment of righteousness."

And when someone has been declared righteous, I find they start to have a different attitude towards righteousness.


Born-again Christians are not perfect, but they have a desire to do right, because they have been declared right.

They are sad when they sin, because they know that as born-again Christians, they should be doing what is right.

The man or woman, boy or girl who is truly born again is going to show off their new clothes. Righteousness!




The man who is in his right mind has the ability to reason correctly.

When we were born again, the Holy Spirit of God came inside of us, and gave us the ability to reason as God would have us to reason.


This means, with the Holy Spirit's help we can see things as God would have us to see things. It means we have the capacity to understand the Word of God.

It means my attitude towards life, towards sin, towards serving God should all change, because I have a new mind.


This new mind must be cultivated. Romans 12:1-2


The new mind is cultivated by meditation on the Word of God. If you have been saved, your manner should be different. There should be Rest, Righteousness and Reason.


Vs. 16 - The witnesses, probably the disciples included, told the story.


Vs. 17 - Here's another irony.

There had been a great miracle performed.

Instead of wanting to know more, instead of seeking His teaching, instead of asking Jesus to take care of other demons and diseases, they ask Jesus to leave!

We need to beware!

Every time an unsaved person turns down Christ, he is asking Jesus to leave.

Every time we, as Christians, want nothing to do with our Savior, we are, in a sense, asking Him to leave. I'm glad that He hasn't.




Vs. 18 - The man was truly changed.

Instead of attacking Jesus He now wants to go with Jesus.

That should be our attitude as well.

The only difference is, we can spend time with Jesus.

And, we are able to follow Him.


Vs. 19 - There's another irony here.

The demons asked Jesus to enter the swine, and He said yes.

The villagers asked Jesus to leave, and He did.

The new Christian wants to go with Jesus, and Jesus said "no".


Why is it that the Christian got the only "no" answer.

The demons and villagers were not Christians. They had no part of His lordship. The Christian is a believer, and is to submit the Lordship of the Lord Jesus.


Why did Jesus say "no" to this man?

Because God had another plan for His life.

Some are called to 9-5 jobs as witnesses.

Some are called to full time Christian work.

Some are called to the home.

The most important thing is that we go where we are sent.

That's our responsibility.


This man's responsibility was to go home to family and friends and tell what God had done.


Indeed this is something each one of us should do as Christians.


We are witnesses of the grace of God. 1 Peter 3:15, Psalm 107:2


Vs. 20 - This man did exactly what he was told and caused many to marvel.