Miracle 14:
Healing the Demoniac at Gadara

Mark 5:1-20  And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 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. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, 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. 8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 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. 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. 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. 16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. 17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. 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. 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. 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

Matthew 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

 

We have just dealt with Christ power over the natural world, but now we come to power over the supernatural world

 

1. Mark 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

a.       Our Lord had taught on the other side and had given them parables.

b.       He was weary and so had crossed the sea. The Gadarenes were the inhabitants of Gadara, and this is the land that was given to the tribe of Gad on the east side of the Jordan River.

c.        They were the ones who stayed on the east side, and now we find them in the pig business. You see, when you start away from God, you just keep going away from Him.[1].

2. Content  5:2-20

a.       The contact of Jesus with the possessed man  (2-6)
b.       He’s “a man,” a human being. Note that first of all and write it down. He is in a desperate condition, but he is still a man.
c.       That is what the Lord Jesus saw—a man. In spite of his condition, Jesus saw the man. His conduct suggests that the man was a maniac. Notice what it says about him.[2]
d.       We see the effect on the personality of this man.  He had superhuman strength.  He was self-destructive. And he was dangerous (Matt 8:28). So the demons are very powerful. 
e.       But when the man sees Jesus, even with all the power that “binds” him, he comes and falls at Jesus’ feet.  This is a testimony to the surpassing power of Jesus.
f.         This is a desperate case of a man possessed with an unclean spirit. He dwelt, which means he settled down, among the tombs. This is where he lived; this was his ghetto. The tombs were unclean places. The dead were there, and sometimes the bodies were exposed. He no longer enjoyed the society of normal men but he lived among the dead.
g.       We find from Matthew that there was another man, but Mark and Luke center on this one. We gather that the other man was no companion to this man; nor, of course, were the dead any company to him. He was alone.
h.       Yet we are told that he possessed superhuman power; so they could not bind him. Just because a man demonstrates power which is supernatural does not prove that God gave it to him.
i.         This case is a typical example. He was a wild man; no one could confine him. He was miserable. He suffered great physical harm which he inflicted on himself. He’s a creature of sorrow and pity, and on the human plane he is a hopeless case.
j.         He’s inarticulate and just crying out. What an awful condition! And all due to demon possession![3]
3. The confrontation of Jesus with the demons  (7-13)
a.          The revelation - When the man goes to Jesus for help, the demons immediately recognize Jesus.
1.       They had called Him "the Holy one of God in an earlier miracle, (the Isaiah affirmation)  now we see that they identify him as the son of the most high God.

2.       The answer of this man is baffling but it’s not bad grammar. He says, “My name is …” indicating that the man was trying to speak, but then the demons take over and they say, “We are many.”[4]

3.       The demon said his name was Legion.  A legion was 6000 men.  Whether or not there were actually 6000 demons in this man, we don’t know, but I’m sure it means that there were a number of demons in this man.

b.          The request
1.       The demons were worried that their judgment was coming now.  They say in Matt 8:29, " Have you come to torment us before "the time." 
2.       This shows us that they know that they are doomed.  But they think that their judgment is coming a little early. This could mean that they understand the events of prophecy a little and recognize that some things have not yet happened.
3.       Or they could be referring to the fact that some demons will be confined to the abyss until they are released for a short time in the tribulation (2Pe 2:4; Rev 9:1-3).
4.       Luke 8:31 says that they were afraid of being cast into the abyss. The abyss is not the sea of Galilee. The abyss is a place of confinement until the final judgment. This shows us that they understand their destiny
5.       The demons want to stay where they are because they had a foothold in that area and they ask if they can go into the swine (2000 of them). 
6.       What do the pigs think about demon possession?  The swine can’t stand the demons and commit suicide.  There may be some symbolic value to what happens to them. Giving them a taste of final judgment, etc.

 

c. Now let me come back and say some things about this matter of demon possession:

1.       Not only Mark but all of the Scriptures bear definite witness to the reality of the demons. For those who accept the authority of Scripture, there must be an acceptance of the reality of demons.

2.       They were especially evident during the ministry of Jesus but, of course, were not confined to that period. By the way, we’re living in a day right now when there is resurgence and a manifestation of demonism again. Many illustrations of this could be given.

3.       For some strange reason they seek to indwell mankind. They seek to manifest their evil nature through human beings. They are extremely restless. This description is clear. “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out” (Luke 11:24). Is this not the characteristic of all evil, even evil men? There is the restlessness of seeking expression of the evil nature. Good spirits never seek to take possession of men.

4.       He only indwells believers. But as truly as He indwells believers, so demons can possess the unsaved. Demons cannot possess the saved. We are told that greater is He that in us (the Holy Spirit) than he that is in the world (Satan) (1 John 4:4). Therefore, a child of God cannot be demon-possessed.

5.       In this incident the demons would rather go into a herd of swine than the abyss. That is interesting to note.

6.       They should be called demons and not devils. There is only one Devil. They are called “unclean spirits” because of their nature.

7.       Scripture does not give us the origin of them. Anything I would say today would be highly speculative.

8.       There seem to be many of them.

9.       They are under the control of Satan. Now I said I would not speculate, but here I go. I’m of the opinion that when Satan fell, these were the angels that followed him. Now having said that, let’s not say any more.

10.    Their purpose is the final undoing of man. They are certainly working on Satan’s program.

11.    There are present-day examples of demon possession. We have Satan worship right in our own neighborhoods, and there are a lot of college students and professors who are engaged in it. They say they find reality in it. I think they do, by the way. I think that Satan is prepared to give reality to those who worship him. The all-important question is: what kind of reality do they find?

12.    The Lord Jesus Christ has power over demons. That, I think, is the great lesson for us to learn.

13.    There is no reason for any believer to be afraid of demons or to adopt some superstition or spooky notion concerning them. If you feel that you are bothered with them, then just ask the Lord Jesus to deliver you. They have been cast out in His name, and it is a lack of faith in the Lord Jesus to walk in fear of them today.

14.    If you feel that they can control you in any way, or possess you, or direct you, then you need counseling. Remember that the Lord Jesus Christ has power over demons.

c. The conflict of Jesus with the crowd  (14-17)

1.       The people are so glad that this man is healed that they applaud Jesus....wrong.

2.       Losing 2000 pigs does not settle well with the people.  They don’t applaud Jesus for healing the man of this terrible plight.  Instead they ask Him to leave. They respond in fear (vs 15) but also in rejection.

3.       You know that the people of Gadara came and asked the Lord Jesus to leave their coast. The reason was that they would rather have swine than have Him. That’s a rather heart-searching question for the present day because there are a lot of people who would rather have other things—that are just as bad as pigs—than to have Christ.[5]

4.       Here they are more concerned with their money than the man.

5.       They have tried to bind this man/satan with no success and Jesus handled 6000(?) demons with no trouble.

6.       The response of the Gadarenes was typically human; they were afraid of the unknown.

7.       Fear had existed before because of the demoniac, but as long as he remained in his own domain, they could live with it. When Jesus restored the man, however, his radical change caused confusion and they began to pray him to depart.

8.       They preferred the status quo, where everything could be explained by natural means. Admittedly Jesus’ apostles were frightened by their Master’s supernatural powers (4:41), but they also believed and followed.[6]

d. The commission of Jesus to the man  (18-19)

1.                   The man wants to go with Jesus, but Jesus tells him to go and tell others in the area about God. He was to tell, "What great things the Lord has done.." Tell about the work of God. And, "How He had mercy on you." Tell about the character of God.

2.                   The Lord sent him back to his family and relatives to testify of God’s grace in his life. What greater way could the gospel reach them, for they must have known all too well of their relative’s condition.

3.                   Naturally the liberated man wished to be with him, to listen at His feet, to observe every action, to express his gratitude, but even commendable desires are not always His will.

4.                   The former demoniac went beyond the call of duty, for he undoubtedly made an immediate visit to his friends and relatives, but he was so enthusiastic about what Christ had done he shared his story with everyone he met.

e. The communication of Jesus by the man  (20)

1.                   Jesus told the man to tell everyone what "The Lord" had done...  The man goes and tells everyone what "Jesus" had done for him. 

2.                   Mark wants us to make the connection between "Jesus" and the "Lord."

II. INTERPRETATION

·          Even the demonic forces recognize that Jesus is the Son of God and recognize His right of final judgment.

·          Jesus knew what would happen to the pigs, but let it happen to expose their materialism and faulty value system.

III. APPLICATIONS

·          Salvation should result in obedient service.  "Go tell them what the Lord has done..."

·          Rejection of Christ brings a greater loss than temporal possessions.  What did they lose in the story?  Not just their pigs.  They lost Him.  They lost the presence of Christ in their lives eternally.

·          I need to be aware of the controlling power of Satan.  But I don’t need to be afraid because Jesus is more powerful.  1Jn 4:4  Christ is greater than the forces of Satan.

·          I need to respond to God’s commands for me to be a witness.

·         I need to beware of letting earthly possessions hinder my desire and submission to Christ.



[1]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[2]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[3]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[4]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[5]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[6]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.