Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 081320

“And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when He was come out of the ship, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 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. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped Him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, ‘What have I to do with thee, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God, that Thou torment me not.’
For He said unto him,
‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit.’
And He asked him,
‘What is thy name?’
And he answered, saying, ‘My name is Legion: for we are many.’ And he besought Him much that He would not send them away out of the country.
Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought Him, saying, ‘Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.’ 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.
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. 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. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.
And they began to pray Him to depart out of their coasts. And when He was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed Him that he might be with Him.
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.’
And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.”  Mark 5:1-20  (KJB)

Blessings Under the Table

“And from thence He arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of Him, and came and fell at His feet: the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought Him that He would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
But Jesus said unto her, ‘Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.’ And she answered and said unto Him, ‘Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.’ And He said unto her, ‘For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.’
And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.” Mark 7:24-30  (KJB)

For the commentary today I turn to Alexander MacLaren’s Expositions of Holy Scripture…

“CHILDREN AND LITTLE DOGS
Our Lord desired to withdraw from the excited crowds who were flocking after Him as a mere miracle-worker and from the hostile espionage of emissaries of the Pharisees, ‘which had come from Jerusalem.’ Therefore He sought seclusion in heathen territory. He, too, knew the need of quiet, and felt the longing to plunge into privacy, to escape for a time from the pressure of admirers and of foes, and to go where no man knew Him. How near to us that brings Him! And how the remembrance of it helps to explain His demeanour to the Syrophcenician woman, so unlike His usual tone! Naturally the presence of Jesus leaked out, and perhaps the very effort to avoid notice attracted it. Rumour would have carried His name across the border, and the tidings of His being among them would stir hope in some hearts that felt the need of His help. Of such was this woman, whom Mark describes first, generally, as a ‘Greek’ (that is, a Gentile), and then particularly as ‘a Syrophcenician by race’; that is, one of that branch of the Phoenician race who inhabited maritime Syria, in contradistinction from the other branch inhabiting North-eastern Africa, Carthage, and its neighbourhood. Her deep need made her bold and persistent, as we learn in detail from Matthew, who is in this narrative more graphic than Mark. He tells us that she attacked Jesus in the way, and followed Him, pouring out her loud petitions, to the annoyance of the disciples. They thought that they were carrying out His wish for privacy in suggesting that it would be best to ‘send her away’ with her prayer granted, and so stop her ‘crying after us,’ which might raise a crowd, and defeat the wish. We owe to Matthew the further facts of the woman’s recognition of Jesus as ‘the Son of David,’ and of the strange ignoring of her cries, and of His answer to the disciples’ suggestion, in which He limited His mission to Israel, and so explained to them His silence to her. Mark omits all these points, and focuses all the light on the two things-Christ’s strange and apparently harsh refusal, and the woman’s answer, which won her cause.
Certainly our Lord’s words are startlingly unlike Him, and as startlingly like the Jewish pride of race and contempt for Gentiles. But that the woman did not take them so is clear; and that was not due only to her faith, but to something in Him which gave her faith a foothold. We are surely not to suppose that she drew from His words an inference which He did not perceive in them, and that He was, as some commentators put it, ‘caught in His own words.’ Mark alone gives us the first clause of Christ’s answer to the woman’s petition: ‘Let the children first be filled.’ And that ‘first’ distinctly says that their prerogative is priority, not monopoly. If there is a ‘first,’ there will follow a second. The very image of the great house in which the children sit at the table, and the ‘little dogs’ are in the room, implies that children and dogs are part of one household; and Jesus meant by it just what the woman found in it,-the assurance that the meal-time for the dogs would come when the children had done. That is but a picturesque way of stating the method of divine revelation through the medium of the chosen people, and the objections to Christ’s words come at last to be objections to the ‘committing’ of the ‘oracles of God’ to the Jewish race; that is to say, objections to the only possible way by which a historical revelation could be given. It must have personal mediums, a place and a sequence. It must prepare fit vehicles for itself and gradually grow in clearness and contents. And all this is just to say that revelation for the world must be first the possession of a race. The fire must have a hearth on which it can be kindled and burn, till it is sufficient to bear being carried thence.
Universalism was the goal of the necessary restriction. Pharisaism sought to make the restriction permanent. Jesus really threw open the gates to all in this very saying, which at first sounds so harsh. ‘First’ implies second, children and little dogs are all parts of the one household. Christ’s personal ministry was confined to Israel for obvious and weighty reasons. He felt, as Matthew tells us, that He said in this incident that He was not sent but to the lost sheep of that nation. But His world-wide mission was as clear to Him as its temporary limit, and in His first discourse in the synagogue at Nazareth He proclaimed it to a scowling crowd. We cannot doubt that His sympathetic heart yearned over this poor woman, and His seemingly rough speech was meant partly to honour the law which ruled His mission even in the act of making an exception to it, and partly to test, and so to increase, her faith.
Her swift laying of her finger on the vulnerable point in the apparent refusal of her prayer may have been due to a woman’s quick wit, but it was much more due to a mother’s misery and to a suppliant’s faith. There must have been something in Christ’s look, or in the cadence of His voice, which helped to soften the surface harshness of His words, and emboldened her to confront Him with the plain implications of His own words. What a constellation of graces sparkles in her ready reply! There is humility in accepting the place He gives her; insight in seeing at once a new plea in what might have sent her away despairing; persistence in pleading; confidence that He can grant her request and that He would gladly do so. Our Lord’s treatment of her was amply justified by its effects. His words were like the hard steel that strikes the flint and brings out a shower of sparks. Faith makes obstacles into helps, and stones of stumbling into ‘stepping-stones to higher things.’ If we will take the place which He gives us, and hold fast our trust in Him even when He seems silent to us, and will so far penetrate His designs as to find the hidden purpose of good in apparent repulses, the honey secreted deep in the flower, we shall share in this woman’s blessing in the measure in which we share in her faith.
Jesus obviously delighted in being at liberty to stretch His commission so as to include her in its scope. Joyful recognition of the ingenuity of her pleading, and of her faith’s bringing her within the circle of the ‘children,’ are apparent in His word, ‘For this saying go thy way.’ He ever looks for the disposition in us which will let Him, in accordance with His great purpose, pour on us His full-flowing tide of blessing, and nothing gladdens Him more than that, by humble acceptance of our assigned place, and persistent pleading, and trust that will not be shaken, we should make it possible for Him to see in us recipients of His mercy and healing grace.” EXPOSITIONS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE Alexander MacLaren

The Power of God in Christ Jesus; Yet Unwanted

“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. And, behold, they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?’
And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought Him, saying, ‘If Thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.’ And He said unto them, ‘Go.’ And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw Him, they besought Him that He would depart out of their coasts.” Matthew 8:28-34 (KJB)

“The demon spirit seems still to tenant the lives of human beings. To what else can we attribute the paroxysms of passion, the awful cruelties and inhumanities of men? There is only one devil, but many demons; only one prince of the power of darkness, but many emissaries. Take heed, lest you open the door of your nature to the spirit of evil and he possess you. Watch and pray, and trust the keeping of your soul to the hands of Christ. He is stronger than the strong man.
Notice that the demon is set upon destruction. If he may not destroy the souls of men, he will destroy swine. This is the mark of evil. It is always destructive; whereas the Spirit of God is constructive and builds up from the ruins of Satan’s work a new heaven and a new earth, both in the soul and in the universe.
All the city besought Jesus to depart, because men count their gains more valuable than His presence. The same spirit rules in the commercial world of today. Let us beware. What shall it profit to gain the world, if we lose our souls?” From F. B. Meyer’s Through the Bible Day by Day on Mat. 8:28-34

The Kings Authority Over Evil

The King’s Authority Over Evil

Matthew 8:28-34

We have seen Jesus the King as He has dealt with physical ailments, sicknesses, diseases, and our infirmities. We have seen Him deal with the storm which came up at sea which could, itself, have been generated by supernatural means, through the demons we see in our text. It is only my supposition to think it was of supernatural means, and I think a good supposition due to the fear of the four fishermen who were on the boat of the previous verses. If it was not supernatural, then, it was one of the fiercest storms they had ever encountered.

JESUS IS MET BY TWO WHO ARE POSSESSED BY DEMONS (v. 28).

* Two people all the other people feared and would take long walks around where they dwelt.

* Two people who were in bondage; who actually were crying for help from within their souls.

THE FALLEN ANGELS KNOW WHO JESUS IS AND PLEAD WITH HIM FOR A REPRIEVE (vv. 29-31).

* These demons recognize their Creator who cast them out of heaven.

* They still despise Him, though they may show some humility to Him, recognizing His superiority over them.

MATTHEW’S GOSPEL RECORDS JESUS ONLY SPEAKING ONE WORD, AND THAT WORD IS “GO.” (v. 32).

* Jesus’s word “Go” to these fallen angels was to depart from the tormented souls of these individuals.

* The Christian is commissioned to “Go”, and tell, and deliver the lost from the torment of evil.

THE OWNER’S OF THE PORK STRONGLY URGE JESUS TO LEAVE (vv. 33-34).

* This whole event is about the deliverance of people who have been in bondage to evil.

* What is of more importance pigs and/or possessions or the lives of human beings?

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Tormented

There are many tormented people in the world today. Some seem to be intelligent individuals, educated, wealthy, or maybe middle class, or poor who are tormented by their lives, and living.

These folks do things that are beyond themselves, that cause harm to family, friends, neighbors; even to themselves that a otherwise sane individual would not do. We send them to doctors who specialize in this sort of thing, yet these people are still tormented.

Jesus dealt with these people, and spoke to them, and in our case today delivers this man from his torment:

“And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him.” Mark 1:23-27 (KJV)

This man was demon possessed. Controlled by another being. He needed peace, and only Jesus could give it. Tormented souls need Jesus the Christ to set them free, and give them peace. Peace with God (Romans 5:1).

Are you a tormented soul? Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Call on His name, and He will save you.

The Problem with Self-Reformation

The Problems of Self-Reformation

“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” Matthew 12:43-45 (KJV).

There is not much talk of “Demon possession” in our modern or “Post-modern” era. We are too sophisticated for demons. We have psychiatry, and psychology to handle the things that tend to control us. We can’t have anything spiritual enter the picture. Then, we wonder, “Why can’t this problem be solved?” or “Why can’t George overcome his alcoholism?” or “Why can’t Cheryl quit smoking those cigarettes?”, or something we consider worse, “Why can’t Harold over come His sexual abuse of children?” According to the experts this final one is never overcome. My answer to that is NOT BY PHYCHIATRY, PSYCHOLOGY, OR SELF REFORMATION.

The idea of “self-reformation” is nothing new. Mankind has, since the fall of man in the garden, tried to reform and change himself/herself. The religious leaders of Jesus’s day were depending on their own merit and abilities to have self-restraint, and self-reform. They may have kept themselves from the physical act of some sins, but the sin was still quite active in their own minds and hearts. If the sin issue is not dealt with in the heart and mind it will still be a problem in the life of the one who desires to change. The only way to deal with it in the heart and mind is through faith in Jesus Christ; and receiving a new heart, a transformed mind (Romans 12:1-2). The end result of self-reformation is like what Jesus mentions in our text. You might sweep and clean out the place, but if you don’t fill it with the Spirit of Christ it is still empty and you will end up worse than you were before.

One of the fruits of the Spirit of God is “Temperance” or “Self-control” (Galations 5:22-23). This fruit is by the Holy Spirit, and He gives through His power the mind and heart to say no to cigarettes, liquor, overeating – gluttony, sexual immorality (which would include sexual abuse of children), etc.. These things can have a way of bindiing us all. They need not control us. By the power of the Spirit we turn them away, by seeing what this does to Christ, by seeing what these things do to the Body of Christ, and the harm they will do to our own. The Christian who is under the dominion of any of these things is not walking in the Spirit of Christ. You, however, cannot get control in your own strength.

We can see so many people involved in so much religious activity, ceremony, ritual, rules, regulations, etc. and their lives are in miserable shape before God. They have the appearance of happiness, but they are still far from God. Self-reformation is truly the downfall of our own age. If you listen to Oprah, and many gurus which she follows; the answer for us is positive thinking, lifting up yourself, visualizing a better you, or a better future. Our only true hope is found in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you want to be a real “positive thinker” think like Jesus, and through Him seek to do only those things that please the Father.

When we achieve through our own abilities, or when we think we have, we have a tendency of pride, prideful rebellion against God. Pride is a destructive path more destructive than the most horrid of sins. Sin will be the judge of those who enjoy their sin (Jeremiah 2:19). Your own sins will judge you. The wicked generation who seeks not the things of God through His Son Jesus is in the direction of God’s eternal judgment.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Preacher in Power With God

The Man in the Wilderness

“And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.” Matthew 11:7-19 (KJV)

Jesus makes a declaration about the prophet who showed the way to Himself. Jesus’s word is that John was a prophet who stood, and was not swayed by the tide of public, or popular opinion. The “Reed” spoken of by Jesus was native to the country, and was easily bent in every slight breeze. He would not bend to the winds of conformity of the flesh. He would not win any elections. He would not even allow his name to be submitted to any office.

John was not a man who would attend the social events of the season (v. 8). He was not out to win any popularity contest. The people would not have gone to the wilderness to seek the finely dressed. He dressed in “camel’s hair” very similar to Elijah’s apparel. Not the garment of a popular individual, or one seeking popularity.

A prophet of great esteem, that esteem was from the Lord, not men. To be esteemed “the greatest” by the King Himself is certainly the highest of honors. The esteem of man is useless in eternal matters. Because John was the herald of a new covenant, a better way, those in the new are counted greater. John is counted only as a friend of the Bridegroom. Those in the new covenant are the Bride of the Bridegroom.

The people to whom John preached, and to whom Jesus preached were mostly a people who committed a Dereliction of duty. They heard the voice, but the words were of none effect. The nation neglected to heed the message of the prophet (v. 12). Their opinions were on equal ground with the Word of God. Their attitude was, “We will have the kingdom in our own way”. They hated the prophet and this eventually showed up in their hatred for the King. It seems that the message of all the prophets were despised by the nation (v. 13). John’s message is on equal footing with that of Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah to Malachi. His persecution was on equal footing as well. Here are some similarities. 1) John was fearless before Herod – Elijah was fearless before Jezebel’s prophets; 2) John was locked in prison – Jeremiah was put in a pit; 3) John lost his head – Isaiah was probably sawn in two. John preached against the adultery of Herod; as pointed out earlier (14:1-12).

John would have been the one “In the spirit and power of Elijah” if he would have been received (vv. 14-15; Luke 1:16-17). His ministry would have been to turn the hearts of the people back to God. This was accomplished in a small way. There is yet to come another “In the spirit and power of Elijah” who will accomplish his task (Revelation 11:1-14). The message of the prophet is one people must hear and take heed.

This generation of people was likened to spoiled, uncooperative children (vv. 16-17). Likened to children playing wedding game, then others come into the picture, and declare they want to play the funeral game instead. They want to mourn at a time for rejoicing. They want to rejoice at the wrong time and weep at the time of rejoicing. John’s message was one that the Messiah has come, and the people refused to hear it, tearing their garments in grief. When it was declared to them the time for mourning, then they were rejoicing. There is a whole lot of that in the world of 2008.

It seems the religious leaders had no desire for hearing the truth of God’s message from His prophet John. When they did not want to hear they set out to find fault. The prophet because of his “self-control”, lack of fleshly desires, sometimes loud, and “rude” preaching is accused of being demon possessed. Jesus, because He sits and dines with “tax collectors and sinners” is accused of gluttony and drunkenness. By these accusations they are only endeavoring to cover their own sins that have been exposed for what they really are.

Truth always bears fruit. Lies also bear fruit, but none worth having. Truth reveals the good, and exposes the bad. The children of complainers and accusers continue complaining, accusing lives – to eternal condemnation. The children of wisdom are drawn to the Savior. If Jesus and John were the way of these accusations, then, why are lives changed by faith in Jesus. The resurrected, changed life is evidence that the claims of Jesus and John are true and not the claims of the complainants.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Kings Authority Over Evil

The Kings Authority Over Evil

“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.  And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?  And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.  So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.  And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.  And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.” Matthew 8:28-34 (KJV)

We have seen Jesus the King as He has dealt with physical ailments, sicknesses, diseases, and our infirmities. We have seen Him deal with the storm which came up at sea which could, itself, have been generated by supernatural means, through the demons we see in our text. It is only my supposition to think it was of supernatural means, and I think a good supposition due to the fear of the four fishermen who were on the boat of the previous verses. If it was not supernatural, then, it was one of the fiercest storms they had ever encountered.

In this passage of Scripture we see our King dealing with the hordes of hell. There are many who see demons in every ailment or problem which befalls mankind. Some call liquor, “Demon alcohol” or something equivalent. Not to long ago there was a celebrity “preaching” couple and the husband had beaten the wife, and he said, “The devil made me do it”. We must admit there is evil in the world, and demons are probably a motivating factor behind a lot of it, but they only inhabit bodies of human beings who have opened their lives to them. That is probably the case with these two men.

It is my fear that there are many people today who are demon possessed and receiving psychological or psychiatric counselling that will not do them a bit of good. They may calm down, put on an apparent new behavior, but still be under the control of demons. We see a progression of Jesus’s power in this chapter. Ailments, sicknesses, diseases, infirmities, storms, then, the spiritual realm.

All power has been given unto Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith. All power means over everything in, on, and under the earth, and all that is in heaven.

There are some who have supposed a couple of problems with this passage. The first one being the location. Matthew calls the land Gergesenes, and Mark, and Luke calls it the country of the Gadarenes. The following is the writing of John Gill,

into the country of Gergesenes, the same with the Girgashites, Gen_15:21 whom Joshua drove out of the land of Canaan; and who, as a Jewish writer (l) says, left their country to the Israelites, and went to a country, which is called to this day, גורגיסטאן, “Gurgestan”, of which these people were some remains: both in Mar_5:1 it is called “the country of the Gadarenes”; and so the Syriac and Persic versions read it here; which is easily reconciled by observing, not that Gergesa and Gadara were one and the same city, called by different names; but that these two cities were near each other, in the same country, which was sometimes denominated from the one, and sometimes from the other. Origen (m) has a remarkable passage, showing the different situations of Gadara and Gergesa; and that the latter cannot be Gerasa in Arabia; and also the signification of the name, for the sake of which, I shall transcribe it.

“Gerasa (says he) is a city of Arabia, having neither sea nor lake near it; wherefore the evangelists, who well knew the countries about Judea, would never have said so manifest an untruth: and as to what we find in some few copies, “into the country of the Gadarenes”, it must be said, that Gadara indeed was a city of Judea, about which were many famous baths; but there was no lake, or sea in it, adjacent with precipices; but Gergesa, from whence were the Gergasenes, is an ancient city about the lake; now called Tiberias; about which is a precipice adjacent to the lake, from whence is shown, that the swine were cast down by the devils. Gergesa is interpreted, παροικιαεκβεβληκοτων, “the habitation of those that cast out”; being called so perhaps prophetically, for what the inhabitants of those places did to the Saviour, beseeching him to depart out of their coasts.”” From the e-Sword version.

The second problem some see is in Matthew’s version we have two people. The gospels of both Mark and Luke mention only one. There is a good reason for this and one is that one of these demon possessed people was more fierce and vile than the other, and He is the one to whom Jesus Spoke. According to Matthew Henry’s Commentary, “And some think, these two were man and wife, because the Evangelists speak but of one” p. 112, VOL. V.

Remember the storm that arose at sea? Could it have been brought about by the “prince of the power of the air” trying to prevent the Prince of peace from getting ashore to give peace to these two tormented souls? We do need to remember even if this is so the devil has no power or authority except that which God allows. Even then, it is to display His glory.

As soon as Jesus is ashore the two possessed by the demons approach Jesus fully recognizing Him (v. 29). The other writers of this event tell us these two; at least one of them anyway; were uncontrollable; “chains had been plucked asunder… fetters broken in pieces…” (Mark 5:4). Luke confirms that these dwelt among the tombs (Luke 8:27). They are quickly identified as being closely associated with the buried dead – “coming out of the tombs”. The demons upon seeing Him are humbled before Him. People who came around this area always went around the area, for fear of these two demon possessed individuals. Matthew even calls them “exceeding fierce”. The English Standard Version says, “so fierce that no one could pass that way”. It was a dangerous matter to go by these tombs with these two there. One’s life could be in jeopardy by doing so.

To describe demon possession goes beyond human thought. An individual who is possessed by a demon or demons; as in this case; is under the control of a supernatural entity or entities. When the person speaks under the influence of the demon, the voice may be rough, angry, coarse, loud, arrogant, hateful, hollow. The physical strength of this individual would far exceed normalcy for a human being. The eyes would be distant, bloodshot, empty, cold, and hateful. Sometimes demon possession may be from the use of drugs. It always comes about because the person has opened their heart and mind to a power greater than themselves, except to God.

These demons are really nothing more than fallen angels. They are angelic beings who joined Lucifer in the rebellion of heaven, and were cast out. All the Father, Son and Holy Spirit had to do to cast the evil one from heaven was speak the Word, and it was done. We can see that rebellion in Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:13-19. Being the eternal beings that they are, ie., eternal from the time of their creation; they would recognize their Creator. They came to meet the Master, their Ruler and Judge, with humility. These are all condemned for all time and all eternity. They are bound to the fires of eternal judgment (Jude 6). They are concerned that the Lord may be come to judge them before their time has come, and to cast them into the eternal fires.

There is probably a tone of resentment in their question, “What have we to do with Thee…? Though they had been thrown out of heaven, though they may have shown some humility in recognizing Him, they still despise Him.

The only possible reason for the swine being mentioned in this story is probably that the people who were breeding hogs were Jewish. Thus, they were doing so illegally against the Mosaic Law. THE LIBERTY COMMENTARY states:

“This is Jesus’ only recorded miracle that was destructive in nature. The fact that Jesus granted the demons’ request was because of His concern for the man. The spiritual principle in this incident is that those who are deliberately disobedient (as was the case of the pig-breeders) deprive themselves of devine protection and place themselves at the mercy of the forces of evil. Certainly, losing the herd of pigs, which was unlawful in the first place, was insignificant when compared to the man’s gaining his spiritual health.” p. 1906.

Jesus had only to speak one word. That word was “Go.” He granted their request. It was only a delay in judgment. Their judgment would yet come some time in the future. The time unknown to them. We are told in Matthew of “an herd of many swine”, however Mark’s gospel tells us “(they were about two thousand)”. In the economy of that day this would have been great economic loss for these Jewish “pig-breeders”. The fact that these pigs are even mentioned, and that Jesus used them for deliverance of the couple, should show us that these swine were the herd of Jewish people. These swine ran down this steep place into the Sea of Galilee and all drowned. What happened to the demons? Only God knows the answer to that.

Jesus had just delivered two individuals – human beings – from bondage of supernatural spirit beings. The pork was now of no use to anyone. They were all drowned. The Jewish owners were now free from their disobedient living; if only they would follow the Savior. Instead, they are angry over the loss of their living. They are completely unconcerned with the two being set free from Satan’s bondage. The pig herders having seen what happened to the herd ran to tell the owners. They even told them of the deliverance of the two demon possessed people.

The whole city came out to meet Jesus. There was much curiosity. Rather than bowing before Him and giving Him glory and praise they ask Him to leave. Rather than inviting Him home with them; they do not want Him around. They are more consumed with the wealth they lost, and what other things that might be discarded should He come to their town.

The story here is of the deliverance of two people. There is no need for ritual in delivering people from the bondage of the devil. Only the need for Jesus. We give people Jesus when we proclaim the gospel. When an individual is given the gospel and believes no demon can stay around. They must flee when Jesus comes in and possesses the individual. Evil and God cannot possess the same vessel. When Jesus is present do you want Him to stay?