Mark 5:1-20 portrays the encounter of Jesus with a man who was desperately tormented. His ‘condition’ had left him isolated, fearless yet fearful, desperately in need of help. I’m sure his condition had mystified a multitude. No one had the strength to subdue him. Everyone was powerless to help, until Jesus came.
As Jesus arrives on the eastern shore of the Sea of Gailee, this troubled tenant of the tombs, controlled by an unclean spirit declares his distance from the Lord. Satan does not welcome displacement easily. Those who have encountered deeply troubled individuals, who may have willfully invited Satanic involvement, will find spiritual resistance.
While others had kept their distance, Jesus Christ directly confronted the evil spirits who had tortured this tomb tenant for years. With direct, God-given authority, Jesus ordered the evil spirit to depart. Forced to exit, the spirits urge permission to remain in the area. Does this suggest that certain regions of our world have a stronger spiritual conflict than others? I think so and the strategy Satan uses may well vary from nation to nation as he comes with his destructive options to individuals, couples, families, groups, even entire nations.
Jesus permits the demons to influence a huge herd of pigs nearby. What were Jewish farmers doing caring for hogs? Surely you know the dietary laws which forbade the consumption of pork! The resulting destruction of animals stirred up the community. What was the net result? A pleading of the people for Jesus to leave their region.
Christ agrees with their rejection and prepares to depart. The delivered man begs to join Him, but Jesus has other plans. This man would be a first-hand witness, a testimony to the power of God to change lives, living proof that the Lord was at work and was on a mission of mercy.
There are plenty of applications suggested in this encounter.
1) Evil spiritual influence may be removed by the authority of God.
2) People matter more than property in God’s economy.
3) Jesus generates mixed reactions in each community.
4) Those who have experienced God’s mercy have plenty to share with their family and friends.
5) Testimonies should reflect a Christ-centredness.