30. The madman and the swine
THEY came over unto the other side of the sea, and arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, over against Galilee.
And when Jesus was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but among the tombs: he had devils long time, and no man could bind him, no not with chains.
Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
He fell down before Jesus, and cried out, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. And Jesus asked him,
What is thy name?
He answered, Legion: for we are many.
Now there was a good way off from them a herd of swine feeding. And the devils besought Jesus, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
Jesus gave them leave: he said,
The unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine; and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. They were about two thousand.
They that fed the swine went and told it in the city. And, behold, the whole city came out: they come to Jesus, and see him that had the legion, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: they were afraid. And the Gadarenes round about besought Jesus to depart out of their coasts.
Jesus went up into the ship.
Now the man, out of whom the devils were departed, besought Jesus that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,
Return to thine own house. Go home to thy friends; tell them how the Lord had compassion on thee, and shew them how great things God hath done unto thee.
Jesus passed over by ship unto the other side, and came into his own city. Much people gladly received him.
Scripture: Mark 5:1-20
Meditation 1 of 1:
Do you ever feel driven by forces beyond your strength? A man who was possessed and driven mad by the force of many evil spirits found refuge in the one person who could set him free. Both Luke and Mark in their Gospel accounts of this incident describe this demonic force as a legion (Luke 8:30 and Mark 5:9). A legion is no small force – but an army 6,000 strong! For the people of Palestine who were often hemmed in by occupied forces, a legion – whether human or supernatural – struck terror! Legions at their wildest committed unmentionable atrocities. Our age has also witnessed untold crimes and mass destruction at the hands of possessed rulers and their armies. What is more remarkable – the destructive force of this driven and possessed man, or the bended knee at Jesus’ feet imploring mercy and release (Luke 8:28 and Mark 5:18-19)? God’s word reminds us that no destructive force can keep anyone from the peace and safety which God offers to those who seek his help. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you. ..Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation (Psalm 91:7,9).
Jesus took pity on the man who was overtaken by a legion of evil spirits. The destructive force of these demons is evident for all who can see as they flee and destroy a herd of swine. After Jesus freed the demoniac the whole city came out to meet him. No one had demonstrated such power and authority against the forces of Satan as Jesus did. They feared Jesus as a result and begged him to leave them. Why would they not want Jesus to stay? Perhaps the price for such liberation from the power of evil and sin was more than they wanted to pay. The Lord Jesus is ready and willing to free us from anything that binds us and that keeps us from the love of God. Are you willing to part with anything that might keep you from his love and saving grace?
“Lord Jesus, unbind me that I may love you wholly and walk in the freedom of your way of life and holiness. May there be nothing which keeps me from the joy of living in your presence.”