Thursday, February 12, 2009



I am working my way through some thoughts about the spiritual warfare Jesus encounters from the beginning of His ministry among the people. Today I want to examine an incident in the life of Jesus that can teach us a lot about the devil and his demons.

On the Eastern side of the Sea of Galilee in the area of Gadara or the land of the Gerasenes there was a settlement of Gentiles where a very scary man lived. He lived in the caves and he was known as the crazy man full of demons who screamed and shouted throughout the night. At certain weather conditions he could be heard with his blood-curdling noises all around the lake. People knew who he was and he was no doubt the subject of conversation around the campfire in many homes.

Mark records this fascinating story. In Mark 5:1-20-They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones.

This scene may seem way out, but throughout the years I have actually seen this kind of strength and wildness in certain people who have given themselves over to the devil and his demons. The first book I ever had published was entitled Chains of the spirit: A Manual for Liberation. It was about the demonic activity I had personally encountered in the counseling center. I was able to match this experience up with the demonic activity found in the New Testament. Believe me, it is for real and nothing to ignore in your own life, because it is the battle for the soul-your soul!

Now note what happens when Jesus shows up: Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; and shouting with a loud voice, he said, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!" For He had been saying to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" And He was asking him, "What is your name?" And he said to Him, "My name is Legion; for we are many."

There are a couple of observations that are important here. First, note that this man was demonized to the point of control. The demons were in control of this man and speaking through him. Second, note that the demons know clearly who Jesus is. They call Him, Jesus, Son of the Most High God. What you will find as you read through the Gospels is that there is only one group in the various villages who know who Jesus really is. It's the demonized who greet Jesus, either calling Him the Son of God or the Holy One of Israel. Although the disciples and the religious leaders weren't quite sure about the identity of Jesus, the demons certainly knew. Third, Jesus kept saying to them, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!"

Now note Jesus' response to the demons speaking through this man: And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. The demons implored Him, saying, "Send us into the swine so that we may enter them." Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.

This is a curious thing that the demons asked to be sent into the herd of pigs, instead of being sent out of the country. Jesus went along with the request and sent them into the herd. The herd rushed down off a steep bank into the sea. You can still visit this steep bank on the Sea of Galilee today.

Now keep in mind these were not Jewish herdsmen, because they owned the forbidden pigs. Jews couldn't eat pork. Now watch: Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demonized sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the "legion"; and they became frightened. These Gentiles were used by God to spread the word in the city and throughout the country what had just happened. What they were most fascinated with was not the loss of the herd of pigs, but the transformation of the wild man. NOTE they came and found him "sitting down, clothed and in his right mind." And when they saw the dramatic change in the man, they were frightened! It was obvious to all that they were seeing a miracle!

Now, the people asked Jesus to leave the area before He put them out of business! Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demonized man, and all about the swine. And they began to implore Him to leave their region.

So, Jesus decided to leave: As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demonized was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. And He did not let him, but He said to him, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you."

This is so interesting! The demoniac-the one who was demonized-was so enthused about what Jesus had done for him that he begged Jesus to allow him to tag along with Jesus wherever He was going. Jesus rejected his request and told him to "go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you and how He had mercy on you."

Jesus urged him to stay home and to spread the word throughout the Roman cities of the Decapolis of what God had done for him. What a testimony this would be! HOWEVER, note that the formerly demonized man disobeyed Jesus. And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed. Jesus sent him to tell the news of what God had done for him, BUT the formerly demonized man went away throughout the 10 cities of the Decapolis and didn't tell them what God had done, but WHAT JESUS HAD DONE FOR HIM. This man who was demonized knew from his experience with the demons who had taken control of the man that Jesus was the Son of God. So, he spread the word what Jesus (God) had done for him!

You know, this man was desperate and when Jesus touched him, he was transformed. His restlessness was transformed into peace and he was sitting down. His nakedness was transformed by being clothed. His insanity was transformed into sanity! Boy, I know lots of people who aren't so severely demonized, but desperately need to be transformed in the same way-"sitting down, clothed and in his right mind." Now that's true serenity and peace that anyone can own through Jesus and only Jesus.