Demonic Influence

Perspectives (Mark 5:1-20)

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Let’s consider this account of Jesus and the demonised man from a number of perspectives.

Townspeople: Imagine the combination of feelings from the towns people…  This man was wild, uncontrollable, strong, scary.  They used to be able to keep him locked up with ropes,  then when he kept breaking those they tried chains (vs4), but eventually even those failed to restrain him.  So he roamed the outskirts of the town amongst the tombs, crying out, terrifying people.

The demonised man: What did he feel?  Tormented from inside, not in total control of his outbursts, under the influence of not one but many demons (vs9).  Although nothing physical could hold him, he was nonetheless gripped with fear and anger and shame, ostracised and unloved.  Where were his parents?  His family?

Jesus: Jesus has been busy.  Healing, delivering crowds from their sickness and all forms of oppression, teaching parables about the kingdom challenging mindsets and preparing the ground for the gospel.  So tired he fell asleep in the midst of the storm while on the lake (Mark 4:35-41).  Arriving on the shore, Jesus is met by this man (who must have looked unkept at best, wild or even unclothed even maybe) who comes running and throws himself down before Jesus.  Jesus is discerning, he knows what’s in play here this man is not free, this man is being traumatised, humiliated by demonic influence.

The Disciples: They’ve been on a roller coaster ride of emotions from the highs of seeing multitudes set free from oppression and healed, hearing perplexing yet mysteriously uplifting parables, afraid for their lives because of a storm & then in reverential awe at Jesus the one who just spoke and waves and wind obeyed Him!  Maybe this guy’s reputation had preceded him, maybe they fear again as this man comes running to them…

‘Legion’: Terrified!  Trembling, this is going to be a bad day!  The King of kings has landed on their shore and they know who He is, they are in no doubt of His ultimate authority.  “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” (vs7)

The demonised man: Did he feel hope?  Did he often fight his own body and what the demons made him do?  This time, did he feel hope as he found himself running to Jesus?  Had he heard about Jesus, was he crying out inside yet his voice silent to those watching him?  Scripture doesn’t say, but when Jesus began to engage the demons controlling and robbing his life – I believe suddenly he must have felt hope for the first time in a long time!  Can Jesus help me, is this going to be the best day of my life?

The Disciples: What’s going on here?  Who’s talking to Jesus, begging him?  Who is Legion?  How do they know Jesus is God, we’re just starting to get that!

‘Legion’: In the presence of the Almighty one, this group of demons who had seemingly had so much control and power, had none at all.  They are pleading with Jesus the King of kings; ‘send us to the pigs…’ (vs12)

The herdsmen/farmer & townspeople: That day, one man’s freedom was more important to Jesus than 2000 pigs owned by someone else.  What a statement about the value to Jesus of the man who had been seen as having no value by the town he came from.  Was this action of Jesus’ a judgment on the town for the way that they had treated the man?  Strangely, they beg Jesus to leave them (vs17).  Did he rebuke them?

The redeemed man: What an incredible instant transformation!  From raving mad-man, scary and uncontrollable to ‘sitting there, clothed and in his right mind’ (vs15).  He tries to join Jesus, stay longer with Him, Jesus days ‘no’ but rather commissions him to share the good news of his transformation through his encounter with the Messiah.  And so he does, and he comes probably one of the greatest evangelists in the New Testament spreading the good news with the 10 cities in that region to the amazement of everyone (vs20).  #grateful

The disciples: “Note to self…” at this point in Mark’s Gospel

  • Jesus really has authority over sin & forgiveness (Mark 2)
  • Jesus really has authority over sickness
  • Jesus really has authority over the waves and wind
  • Jesus really has authority over all demonic influence whether it’s mild (Mark 2) to massive (Mark 5)
  • Jesus is really God!?

What’s happening in your life right now?

Have you considered not just yours but some of the other perspectives especially God’s?  How could that change things?

How does knowing Jesus’ authority over all things impact your perspective?

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Real Authority (Mark 1:16-45)

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Jesus announced; “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)  But what is the ‘kingdom’, what did Jesus mean when He said that?

Mark 1:16-45 and the rest of the Gospel will show what Jesus meant.  The kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God (Jesus) over all things.  Just like a king on this earth has authority over the domain of his kingdom, Jesus as King and kings has rule and dominion over all things everywhere.

Here in these verses we see Jesus’ authority four distinct ways;

  1. Jesus’ authority over people’s lives & their destinies (1:16-20)

The still relatively unknown Jesus meets Simon & Andrew, James & John by the lakeside and simply calls them to follow Him and they do!  They leave their livelihood, leave their father and join Jesus on a journey into the unknown trusting Him.  Jesus ‘knows the plans he has for us…’, when we respond to His call on our lives, we choose to trust Him, His goodness and His authority.

  1. Jesus’ authority over the demonic realm (1:21-28 &34&39)

Jesus starts to teach in the synagogue and all of a sudden the demonic influence in a man starts making a scene at the prospect of King Jesus being in the room.  After a very short rebuke to be silent, Jesus commands the demons to leave the man alone and they have to, he is freed!  No power struggle at all, just a simple authoritative command from the King.

  1. Jesus’ authority over sickness (1:29-34)

Jesus arrives in the home of Simon & Andrew, their mother-in-law is ill, Jesus doesn’t even pray for her, no drama, just authority as He took her by the hand and the fever left her.  Word gets out and “all who were sick and oppressed by demons” (vs32) get brought so that it felt like the whole city was at the door of the house and Jesus heals & delivers ‘many’ from all sorts of various diseases.  Whatever it was, Jesus’ authority over it was demonstrated in that moment.

  1. Jesus’ authority through his teaching (1:22&27&39)

Jesus was different, when He taught, they marvelled at His authority, when He commanded demons to be silent or to leave a person alone – they had to do so.  Just as an earthly king has authority within the realm of his kingdom, so too Jesus has authority over His entire realm, which is the entire universe, so His words are all powerful & have all authority.

Lastly, an outcast, a Leper comes to Jesus imploring Him; “If you will, you can make me clean” (vs40) to which Jesus moved with pity for the man replies; “I will, be clean.” (vs41)  Although Jesus is the ultimate authority in the universe, He is not aloof in the least, but left heaven to enter our humanity, stops for the outcast and is moved in His heart for this man.  What a King Jesus is!  What authority, what love!

Contemplate:  How is Jesus’ authority & His love connected to our prayers?Pray:  Is there anything, I mean anything you need to ask King Jesus for…ask Him.