Dominating Powers, Part 1 (Mark 5:1-20)

When we train young men how to preach, one
of the things we work on is the introduction to the sermon because it’s important to get
people’s attention. And there are a lot of ways to do that and
we get a little bit creative from time to time as to how we develop an introduction. There are a lot of ways to do it but the goal
of an introduction is to grab the attention of the people and get them interested in what
you’re about to say. You can do that a lot of ways. You can do that by surprising them a little
bit. You can do that with a high interest story. You can do that by focusing on a very applicable,
practical truth that everybody wants to know about. You can do that by focusing on a problem that
needs a solution and you’re about to give them the solution. There are a lot of ways you can capture interest. But there are some portions of Scripture that
don’t need that. The very text itself has so much interest
that it becomes compelling when simply read. And that is very often the case in narrative
portions of Scripture. By narrative, I mean those portions of Scripture
that tell a story, whether it’s a true story or whether it’s a parable. There is enough interest generated in the
story itself that it becomes its own compelling motivation to listen. This is one of those. If this is not the most interesting incident
in the life of our Lord, it is certainly one of the most interesting incidents in His entire
life. It is so compelling and so riveting and so
strange and so bizarre and so fascinating that merely reading it will set your mind
in the right place to learn all about it. So let’s do that. Chapter 5 of Mark…chapter 5 of Mark, I’m
going to read you the text which unfolds this amazing and bizarre incident. “They came to the other side of the sea, that
is Jesus and the disciples and Apostles, traveling by little boats, 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 has 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. “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.’ 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 drown in the sea. “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 demon possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had
had the legion and they became frightened. Those who had seen it described to them how
it had happened to the demon-possessed man and all about the swine. And they began to implore Him to leave their
region. As He was getting into the boat, the man who
had been demon possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him and He didn’t
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.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in
Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him and everyone was amazed.” The final amazement would relate to the fact
that why would anybody do any good to such a horrendous monster as this. Well, one of the most, as I said, riveting
accounts in all of Scripture, nothing like this display of power over demons is recorded
in Scripture since God Himself threw Satan and all the evil rebelling angels out of heaven. That was a massive upheaval. That was a sweeping act by God in which He
vacated heaven of Satan and a third of the angels. Thousands, of thousands, and ten thousand
times ten thousand innumerable angels were thrown out of heaven in one moment by the
power of God. There has been no display like that until
this. And there won’t be another display like this
until the time of the Tribulation comes to an end, Christ sets up His Kingdom and binds
Satan and all the demons for a period of a thousand years, and throws them into the Lake
of Fire. This kind of power over the kingdom of darkness
is only possible when God is wielding it…whether it’s in the casting out of heaven, or the
casting in to the Lake of Fire, or here casting thousands of demons out of one man, this is
the power of God on display. This is the most extreme encounter with the
powers of supernatural wickedness anywhere in Scripture. There are no such accounts in the Old Testament. And in the New Testament, this is far and
away the most extreme and the most extensive. Our Lord throughout His ministry vanquished
demons, He did it regularly, He did it repeatedly, He did it often. But there was no such display as this one. This, to indicate that He is, in fact, the
Messiah, that He is the Savior, that He is the Son of God, that He is God in human flesh
who wields absolute limitless power over the forces of hell…Satan and all his realm. Now this is part of Mark’s proof. If you go back to his purpose, chapter 1 verse
1, the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark is writing the history of Jesus to prove
He is the Son of God. John sums up that objective for all four writers,
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, when at the end of the fourth gospel, the gospel of John
written last of all the four, he says, “These things are written that you might believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing, you might have life in His
name.” So the purpose of this is evangelistic. But in order to get you to believe in Christ,
you must know who He is, and here is more powerful evidence that He is in fact God the
Son. He is deity. If He is the true Messiah, if He is the Lord
of heaven come down, He must be able to conquer Satan or He cannot bring the everlasting Kingdom. He must have power over the natural world
because the promise of the prophets is that He, the Messiah, is going to come and restore
the earth and lion will lie down with lamb and the desert will blossom like a rose, etc.,
etc. There will be a restored, rejuvenated, restructured
earth that will approximate the Garden of Eden. Does He have the power to do that over nature? We just saw in the last incident how He controlled
the wind and the waves. Yes, He has the power to do that. The Kingdom to come and the assembly of saints
in heaven are those whose lives have been transformed by His power. Does He have the power to transform people’s
lives? He has demonstrated that again and again and
again. He can overcome everything, the curse…He
can overcome the curse in terms of nature, He can overcome the curse in terms of illness
and disease, He can raise the dead, He has all the power required to establish an everlasting
Kingdom. And as part of that, He has demonstrated the
power over Satan and all his hosts. And here in a way that has no parallel. His divine power vanquishes by a command thousands
of demons. Remember now, it was said, first of all, of
the Messiah in Genesis 3:15 that He would crush the serpent’s head. So whoever this Messiah is, has to wield mighty
power over Satan and his hosts. And here it is on exhibit again. Remind yourself of 1 John 3:8…1 John 3:8
says, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” That’s the New Testament fulfillment statement
of Genesis 3:15. That would be the seed of the woman who will
come and crush the serpent’s head, says the Old Testament, Genesis 3:15. The New Testament says, “The Son of Man has
come for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” Destroy, luo, to undo, to remove, to annihilate,
to obliterate the works, erga, action, effect, impact. That’s why in John 12:31 he said, “The ruler
of this world is cast out.” John 16:11, “The ruler of this world is judged.” Romans 16:20, “Satan is under your feet. He is a subjected power.” So our Lord is displaying His ability to fulfill
His purpose of bringing to naught, obliterating the works of the devil. He has total power over them and He will be
able to do what He says He will do in the end when it tells us in Matthew 25:41 that
He prepared the Lake of Fire for the devil and his angels. He has the power to place them there. Scripture makes it clear and, believe me,
the demons know it…the demons know it. This then is a validation of His messiahship. Our Lord’s own words make that clear in Luke
chapter 11, unmistakably so in verse 20. “If I cast out demons by the finger of God,
or by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” If I cast out demons with a word, with the
power of God, then you know the Kingdom of God has arrived. When a strong man fully armed guards his own
house, his possessions are undisturbed. But when someone stronger than he attacks
him, overpowers him, takes away all this armor on which he has relied and distributes his
plunder, that’s Christ. Satan is the strong man who is doing fine
until Christ appears, devastates him, plunders his house. And when that happens, you know the Kingdom
of God has arrived. Now with that as a background, we understand
why this is an important incident because there’s nothing of the vastness and the volume
of this action against Satan recorded in any other place in the New Testament. But as we unfold the story, running down through
the twenty verses, we’ll do it today and next Sunday, there are three displays of power
that I want you to see here. There’s not just one, there are three displays
of power. The first one I want you to see is the devastating,
destructive power of demons…the devastating, destructive power of demons. We’ve already seen Jesus display His power
in the previous paragraph at the end of chapter 4 verses 35 to 41, power wind, power over
water, power to subdue the natural world, the natural elements. And here He shows His power to subdue the
supernatural world, the supernatural elements. The experience the disciples had in the storm
on the water frightened them and this experience that we just read about is also a very frightening
experience. The disciples, you remember, were frightened
of the storm and then they were frightened of the power of Jesus. And we see the same thing here. The people are frightened by this maniac and
then they are even more frightened by the presence of Jesus. So those are parallel elements. You remember how Jesus got to this shore. They left the northwest shore by Capernaum. Got in their little boats, started across
the sea intending to sail to the eastern shore, more unpopulated area…probably the disciples
and Apostles thought He was wanting some rest and maybe they were glad to get some rest
from the massive, crushing, crowds. They got in their little boats, started out,
a storm came up, He stilled the storm, they were thrown off course by the storm, eventually
got back on course, sailed the rest of the night on a placid lake and ended up in the
dawn on the eastern shore at precisely the place they had intended to go, about six miles
around the curve from the city of Capernaum. When they arrived, the first thing we see
is the devastating, destructive power of demons. Let’s pick up the story. “They came to the other side of the sea into
the country of the Gerasenes.” Just a comment about that. Luke adds, “Which is opposite Galilee.” It is on the opposite side from the Galilee
which runs down the western side of the Sea of Galilee. Luke and Mark say it is the country of the
Gerasenes. Matthew says it’s the country of the Gadarenes. That’s not difficult to understand, it is
both…it is both. Gerasenes because there was a little town
right there called Gerasa, or sometimes pronounced Gergasa, but it is the town, the small, small
town of Gerasa that they came near. As I said, it’s about six miles around the
curve of the lake, right there on the shore. So it is the land of the Gerasenes. However, a little further south and inland
is a bigger and more important town and maybe the county seat called Gadarea. So while it was the village of Gerasa, it
was the region that associated itself with Gadarea. So it was the land of the Gerasenes, if you
look at the village, and the Gadarenes if you look at the larger town that sort of gave
its name to the region. In any case, here’s the key, it was Gentile
country. It was Gentile country. And here He is in this Gentile area with His
disciples and Apostles, all of whom have gotten out of the little boats that had come across
the sea and they’re expecting a little bit of rest. They’re away from the Jews. It’s pretty…it’s pretty open country there,
pretty rural. This would be a time for them to get a little
rest. Only that’s not what was planned and the Lord
knew it. Verse 2 says, “When He got out of the boat,
immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him.” This is not the local Chamber of Commerce
representative. This is not the Welcome Wagon. This is your worst nightmare. This is a man from the tombs who comes racing
down the slope to the edge of the lake to meet them. He is defined as having an unclean spirit. It’s probably just barely dawn. They have just tied up their boats. Maybe a little dock was available there and
immediately at the water’s edge a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met them. Matthew 8:28 says, “He has a companion.” There are actually two men in this same condition. But as the story goes on, that second man
is left behind and all the focus of both Matthew, Mark and Luke, who all record this story,
is on the one man. But there were two that came racing down. Now it says he came from the tombs. That would be a little unusual. Jews wouldn’t go near a tomb for fear of being
contaminated by a dead body. But this is a Gentile area. This is obviously a Gentile man. What’s he doing in the tombs? Well, he lives there. Verse 3, “He had his dwelling among the tombs.” He’s a tomb dweller. In ancient times this would be the common
haunt of a deranged, insane, demon-possessed person. Burial chambers in that time and that place
as in many places in the world in ancient times were carved out of the hillside. You can see them in various places in the
world even today, and you can see them right there where the town of Gerasa is, there’s
a modern village called Kursi and that village is located near some of the hillsides and
some of the cliffs where you can still see these open tombs where they put dead bodies. Here is a man who is more comfortable with
the dead than he is with the living. And by the way, the dead are more comfortable
with him than the living would be as well. So it’s a mutually agreed upon condition. He is defined as having an unclean spirit. That’s simply a term for a demon that’s more
descriptive. A fallen angel called a demon clearly refers
to demons because the man is designated as a demon-possessed man, down in verse 18. So this unclean spirit is synonymous with
a demon, a fallen angel. They are spirit beings and they occupy the
bodies of human beings. They are unclean, all of them are unclean..all
of them. So unclean spirit is simply a term that applies
to all fallen angels and all demons. When we went through the gospel of Luke, we
went through this story in Luke chapter 8 and I digressed, as I want to do, and gave
you a very expanded insight into the whole world of demons. I’m not going to do that again, you can find
that information there available for you in the Luke series. Then verse 3, “He had his dwelling among the
tombs, indicates to us that he wasn’t just visiting a tomb to see a dead friend or placing
flowers outside a tomb or meditating about the loss of a past relative. He would be classified as a man who lived
in the tombs as a madman. He is a maniac. He is deranged, he is irrational, he’s dangerous. He is a sub-human, anti-social, sociopathic
and intensely evil. He’s a monster. He’s a monster. Luke adds, just to make matters worse, that
he hadn’t put on any clothes for a long time, which leads us to conclude he was not only
exposed to the elements of hot and cold and there was hot sun and very cold nights, especially
in the winter time which would be this time, but that he was perverted. Nakedness for him was related to his sexual
perversion. He is as wicked as wicked gets. He is a man that fits into a category that
we’re somewhat familiar with when we’re exposed to sociopathic people who have deviant sexual
attitudes who are dangerous to themselves and dangerous to people all around them. This is that kind of man who although far
worse, fits into the ilk of a Charles Manson or some other kind of mass murderer of some
freakish nature. Which, by the way, I’m convinced is if properly
diagnosed the result of demon possession and cannot be explained because when he was a
little kid his mother locked him in the closet with no lunch. Nakedness, by the way, is a perversion. And that’s why Luke adds it. It is a perversion. You remember that when Adam and Eve sinned,
the first thing they did was…what?…make something to cover themselves. And then God helped by replacing their temporary
covering with a permanent covering made out of hide. The New Testament commands us not only to
be clothed, but to be clothed modestly, does it not? Modestly. Nakedness is a sign of great evil. It is a sign of perversion, sexual perversion. In fact, in Levitical Law, uncovering a person’s
nakedness was a euphemism for sexual sin. In Revelation 3:18 it says, “The shame of
your nakedness.” The more naked a person becomes, the more
shameful it is. You start with a modest dress and you keep
moving toward further and further shame. Well this is a very, very bizarre, wretched
human being. He’s also characterized by supernatural strength,
verse 3. It tells us that no one was able to bind him
anymore. Which means they had been trying to do it. In the ancient world, al you did with a maniac
like this was restrain him. That’s not too far into the distant past. I remember it wasn’t too many years ago before
mind-numbing drugs had come into play that people were put in straitjackets and put in
padded cells so that all they could do is bang around and not even do harm to themselves
cause they were bouncing off mattress-like walls. That’s the way it was through all human history. Before the advent of mind-numbing drugs, or
perhaps in the last century, brain fries which turned people into zombies, this is what they
did. They restrained them and they restrained them
because they were dangerous. They were so anti-social as to be dangerous,
to be deadly. This guy would fit into the category of a
sociopathic mass murderer if he got away with doing what he wanted to do. Who knows who he had harmed. Who knows who he had killed. He was frightening, he was dangerous, he was
a horrible menace. He is a threat to the sensibilities and social
morality of the people. They tried to chain him. They must have slammed him down, knocked him
out with a blow to the head, tried to chain him. It didn’t do any good. He would break the chains. In fact, Luke says he would break the chains
and be driven by the demons into the wilderness. Just a total out-of-control maniac with amazing
strength. He’s aggressive. He’s wickedly aggressive, frighteningly so. And Luke’s comment that he would break the
chains and the demons would drive him into the wilderness, the demons are torturing this
man, they’re torturing all the people that come in contact with him but they’re torturing
him, too. He is both the means of torture and the victim
of torture and torment. Verse 5 sadly says, “Constantly, constantly,
night and day he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains and gashing himself with
stones.” So he’s just peripatetic. He is sleepless. He is restless. He is wandering out…in and out of the tombs,
in and out of the mountains, driven into the wilderness, the desert by the demons, tormented. This is a living hell. This is a taste of hell, completely subsumed
to demonic power and presence. Nothing good, nothing left, no escape, no
rest, no sleep, this is hell. And looking for relief, he grabs stones and
unsuccessfully attempting his own life, hacks away at his flesh with stones meant to cut. The man makes a modern, perverted monsters
like Charles Manson look like Boy Scouts. He is so subdued that his own personality
is never even seen. He’s more at home with the dead than the living
and he’s a threat to the living, serious threat. In fact, he’s such a threat that Matthew 8:28
says, “No one would pass that way because he was so…and the word is…violent..violent.” Just file this in your mind, will you? If you took a survey of the local community
and asked them which neighbor would you most like to see move away? It would be him, you would think, wouldn’t
you? I mean, if you had the choice between having
him move away and Jesus leave, who would you choose? We’ll see later who they chose. He’s raging, violent, deadly, supernaturally
strong, deviant, perverted. There’s nobody like this guy in Scripture,
nobody. Cause Satan doesn’t usually operate this way. He disguises himself as…what?…angel of
light. He likes to go to church in a gray suit, likes
to sit in a pew, likes to stand behind a pulpit, likes to teach in a seminary. That’s what he likes to do. He disguises himself as an angel of light. The closer he can get to Christianity, the
closer he can get to the truth and deviate people from it and lead people astray, the
happier he is. He runs a clandestine operation. Only occasionally do you see this kind of
thing. And we see it from time to time in our world,
don’t we? These deviated, perverted people that we call
monsters that do things that are beyond comprehension for normal people. Satan usually doesn’t operate that way. He wants to hide in the pews among the respectably
religious people. Well, this man sits up in his perch on the
hill in one of the tombs and he sees these little boats tying up and realizes he’s got
some new victims, some people who aren’t from the neighborhood. They don’t know you’re not supposed to go
there. You’re not supposed to be in that place. He sees them tying up on the shore and coming
off the boats and walking along the beach and I’m sure they were close to Jesus since
He was the leader and there was no agenda. So he probably started his usual approach,
with his buddy flying down the hill screaming with this demonic shriek, ready to attack
and maim and kill. And then, all of a sudden, when he gets to
where he can see who is there, verse 6 says, “Seeing Jesus from a distance…” Whoa! He just saw somebody he had known for thousands
of years. You say, “Well how did he know it was Jesus? A demon is a spirit, how did he know it was
Jesus? How did he recognize Jesus?” The word is out among the demons. There is a demon-network. What do you think Jesus has been doing for
the last couple of years? Confronting the kingdom of darkness, casting
out demons…the word was out. The word was out, it probably…probably went
on the spiritual network really fast that Jesus had left Capernaum and was going somewhere. And since they’re not omniscient, they wouldn’t
know until He showed up. Whatever the mechanism of recognition, he
saw Jesus. Luke adds that when he saw Jesus, he shrieked,
screamed in horror. And that was the standard operating response. When Jesus showed up in a synagogue and there
were demons in the congregation, sitting in the pews, if you will, in the respectable
people, when Jesus was there you remember the demons screamed, blew their cover because
their fear overwhelmed their ability to hide. And then he did an amazing thing. It says, “He bowed down before Him.” Whoa! He is now subdued, not by chains, but by sheer
terror. The man collapses. He doesn’t know what’s going on. But the demon dropped him to his knees. The man has no interest in worshiping Jesus
but the demon does…the demons do. When it says, “The man saw Jesus and ran up
to Him and bowed down before Him,” he’s in a hurry to get to Jesus not to do Him harm,
but to bow. It’s the word proskuneo in the Greek, it means
to worship, to demonstrate submission, to show respect to one greater than yourself. No one could make him bow. No one could restrain him, no one could control
him. No one could make him submit, but the presence
of the Lord Jesus cuts him to his knees. The man goes down because the demons go down. And the man goes down under their power. The demon force in that man are subdued…is
subdued by the presence of their sovereign king, their sovereign Lord, their sovereign
judge. The demons recognize Jesus as the Son of God,
Lord over all principalities, all powers, all rulers of this present world, all rulers
of the darkness. They know that He is the sovereign, has the
authority to control them, sentence them, execute them, eternally incarcerate them in
the Lake of Fire and that’s the plan and that’s coming. By the way, as a footnote, demon theology
is orthodox. Demon theology is orthodox. Though they develop liberal theology, they
espouse error heresy, they themselves are orthodox. They know what is true about God and Christ
and the Holy Spirit and salvation. They’re orthodox and they hate what they know
to be true. Verse 7a says, “And shouting, or screaming
with a loud voice…” This is the typical response, that demons
go into some kind of paroxysm with terror and they scream through the vocal chords of
the person in whom they have taken their residence. More demonic shrieking, using the man’s voice
and the demon representative who speaks on behalf of the mob of demons in the man says…it’s
so important…”What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” I said they were orthodox, didn’t I? They know exactly who Jesus is. And by the way, in the first part of Mark
until you get to the middle of Mark’s gospel, they’re the only beings who recognize who
Jesus is. They’re the only ones who say, “You are the
Son of the Most High God, You are the Son of God.” The first…the first time a human being says
that is at the end of the book but half way through at least the disciples confess that
He is the Christ. But it’s not until a Gentile Centurion confesses
it at the end that you hear it from any human being. But they know who He is. And they…this is their standard, I guess
their standard response because it’s exactly what the demon back in chapter 1 said in Capernaum
in the synagogue. When Jesus started teaching in the synagogue,
verse 23 says, “There’s a man in the synagogue with an unclean spirit and he screamed.” And this is what the spirit said through that
man’s vocal chords, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth, have You
come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” Same thing, what business do we have together? Why are You here? And here it’s the same thing. What do they mean by that? What business do we have with each other,
Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Two things to point out. First half of it, what business do we have? Second half, Son of the Most High God. What do they mean by “What business do we
have with each other?” Do they know that there’s a plan to send them
to the Lake of Fire? Absolutely. Do they know that Jesus will be their judge? Absolutely. Do they know He has the power to bind them
and send them everlastingly into hell? Yes. Do they know that if He wants He can send
them into the pit, a place of demonic incarceration already occupied by demons who sinned back
in Genesis 6 and were sent there and perhaps other demons had been sent there through history? Do they know that can happen? Yes. Do they know there is a final judgment to
be rendered on demons? Do they know they are to be bound for a period
of time when the earth is renewed and restored in the great and glorious Kingdom of Messiah
and then sent to the Lake of Fire? They know all of that. They know that. They have been around since the creation,
they know that. They know that. They understand that. So why do they ask the question, “What business
do we have with each other?” What they don’t understand is the timing. Why are You coming after us? You don’t find in the whole Old Testament
any other prophets doing this. You don’t find any of the priests doing this. Nobody confronts the demonic enterprise in
the Old Testament, nobody. Is it around? Of course. Nobody does this. This doesn’t happen until Jesus comes. But they are concerned that the timing is
off. Nobody’s ever done this to us before. Their eschatology is so good they know that
the judgment of demons is related not to Jesus’ first coming, but His Second Coming. And so they’re saying, “What’s going on here? What’s happening here? What business do we have with You?” In fact, in Matthew 8:29 the demon’s spokesman
for the group says this, “Have You come to torment us before the time?” Have You come to torment us before the time? It’s not time yet. That’s connected to Your Second Coming, not
Your First Coming. They knew He was coming the first time. Listen, they interpreted Isaiah 53 perfectly. They understood that He would be the Lamb
that would offer His life as a sacrifice. They understood that. They understood Psalm 16 that He would die
and rise again, that God would never allow Him to see corruption but show Him the path
of life. It didn’t connect. Why now? So I say, they’re orthodox even in their eschatology. They knew that it wasn’t the time. This was the time of Messiah’s death and Messiah’s
resurrection. This is not the time of His reign and His
Kingdom and their judgment. What’s going on? So they correctly identify the timing of their
final judgment and they secondly correctly identify Jesus as Son of the Most High God. That is just such a complete statement. The Most High God, a glorious title for God
in the Old Testament that usually goes like this, “The Most High God, c-o-m-m-a, possessor
of heaven and earth.” The Most High God is El Elyon, God Sovereign. The Most High means sovereign, above all others,
higher than all others. You see it in Genesis, Numbers, Isaiah, Daniel,
references to the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth. And this demon’s recognition is that You are
the Son of the Most High God. That is to say You bear His same essence. In Luke chapter 1, the angel Gabriel comes
to tell Mary she’s going to have a child. Verse 32, “He will be great and will be called
the Son of the Most High. Verse 35, “The Holy Spirit will come upon
you, the power of the Most High will overshadow you and for that reason this holy child shall
be called the Son of God.” He knows who Jesus is. He even understands the plan and the timing
of the plan. He’s been having free reign along with all
of his fellow demons in this one life and out of that one life, wreaking havoc in the
region, doing bodily harm and damage and probably even killing people. What is Jesus doing there now? By the way, in the third chapter of Mark and
the eleventh verse, it says, “Whenever the unclean spirit saw Him, they would fall down
before Him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” That was not an act of repentance. Demons can’t repent. They are unclean and will be forever. That was a recognition of the reality of who
He is. Now back to the story in chapter 5. Here is this bizarre monstrous, sociopath
in a heap at the feet of Jesus, subdued. At the same time, screaming in fear. And at the end of verse 7 he says, “I implore
you by God, do not torment me.” You haven’t minded tormenting that poor soul. Don’t torment me, basanismos, it’s to torture,
the worst possible kind of experience to be tortured. Why did he say, “Don’t torture me?” Because Luke 8:31 says that he asked Jesus
not to command him to go into the abussos, don’t send me to the pit. Don’t incarcerate me in the pit, the abyss,
the place of bound demons. Abussos really means the bottomless pit, the
pit with no bottom. It’s used four times in the book of Revelation. Don’t send me to that place. Don’t send me, if you will, to the place of
incarceration, the sort of vestibule to the Lake of Fire. That’s where the Lord went the demons that
sinned in Genesis 6, that’s what it says in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 and 7, that the angels
that kept not their first estate were bound and they’re bound in that place of incarceration
until they will be finally sent in to the Lake of Fire. And I believe there have been other demons
added to that place through the years because those demons from Genesis 6 were bound in
everlasting chains, they’re never going to get out of there. But in the book of Revelation it tells us
that there will be during the time of Tribulation demons released from that place. So there are some who have been put in there
that will be released to add to the force of demon power during the time of Tribulation. But this group of demons through their spokesman
begged Jesus not to send them into the abussos, into the pit. They’re very happy where they are, wreaking
havoc in a Gentile area. And I might add to you..for your information,
this kind of massive demon possession fits the Gentile environment full of idols, full
of false religions, full of exposure to the kingdom of darkness at its widest point. So, that’s his plea because Jesus was saying,
“Come out of the man, you unclean spirit.” Please don’t send us to the pit. Now I’m going to stop there and just say this. Here you see the devastating, destructive
power of demons, Satan’s power. Don’t kid yourself about Satan. It’s not always this blatant. It’s not always this overt. But we have enough people that show up in
society like this to understand that behavior, don’t we? How else can you explain a Charles Manson? How else can you explain a Dauhmer, how else
can you explain somebody that kills relentlessly and eats the victims? How do you explain that? That is..that is not psychological deviation,
that is demonic possession. We get enough of it to understand it’s there. We even use the word monsters, maniacs. We run out of adjectives to describe people
like that whose lives have been literally taken over by demons. As I said, that’s the exception, not the rule. They usually like to show up in religious
situations and hide behind clergymen and teachers and devoted religious leaders. But their power is fierce, deadly, destructive
and even damning power. So the opening scene is the scene of the power
of demons. We’ll call it “The Devastating Destructive
Power of Demons.” But in verse 8 we make a transition to another
kind of power, the delivering power of deity..the delivering power of deity. And this…this spokesman demon and these
demons who are in mass in this man, they know the power that the Son of God wields and they
know it’s a greater power than theirs. As the Scripture says, “Greater is He that
is in you than he that is in the world.” And they know that Jesus came to destroy the
works of the devil. They know that He came to crush Satan’s head,
to judge Satan and his whole domain. They know that. And so, as Jesus begins to command them, all
they can do is plead with Him not to send them to the pit because they know His power
is so great that He can send them any place He desires. All they can do is beg for a kind of mercy. You might think that He would send them to
the pit because that would get rid of them. Now wouldn’t the world be a better place if
there were a few thousand demons not here? But He doesn’t because they’re really not
the devil’s demons, their His demons and like all demons and like Satan himself, Satan is
God’s devil, they function within the purposes and the parameters of God’s design for divine
purposes. We’ll see that unfold when we look at the
delivering power of deity next time. All right, let’s have a word of prayer together. Thank You, Lord, for a wonderful time of worship
this morning. How our hearts were lifted in the beauty of
music and what a contrast to be plunged into an encounter with this man. What a stark contrast to the sweetness of
Christian fellowship, to the joy of life in the Spirit, living in the power and the presence
of the blessed Holy Spirit where there is peace and joy and love and sanity and calm,
compared to this. What a contrast in two worlds. And what a contrast between the frenetic man
and the majestic Jesus, between all the ugliness and horror and violence and terror and the
perfect calm in commanding presence in the Son of God. We thank You, Lord, that we’ve all been delivered
from the power of Satan. We have been delivered into the power of Christ
and we live not by our own strength but by His power. We can say with Paul, “I live, yet not I but
Christ lives in me.” We thank You for what He has brought to us
of peace and joy and love and sanity and sweet fellowship and blessed worship which this
dear man in the story was allowed to experience by Your grace. Thank You for that grace that reaches down
to any sinner, no matter how wretched that sinner might be. Only Christ would desire to save such a horrendous
person. That has to be an almost unparalleled expression
of the grace of salvation, that while he was a sinner, he was loved and transformed. We thank You, Lord, for this transformation
that has occurred in our lives, that has set us free. May we rejoice in Your mighty work and give
You all the praise in Christ’s name.

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