Mark 5:1-20 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Man
Comments for Study 8

Mark 5:1-20
Memory Verse: 19


I. "Come Out of this Man, You Evil Spirit." (1-8)

>1. What had Jesus been doing the previous day? (4:1-34)

* Jesus had been teaching in a boat at the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

>Then what had he decided to do? (4:35,36: 5:1)

* Mark 4:35-36 "That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him."

* Mark 5:1 "They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes."

* Why did he go to the other side? Perhaps to have quiet time with his disciples.

* "Leaving the crowd behind" -Jesus left the crowd to think about his words. He moved on to other places, as was his custom.

* "they took him along, just as he was, in the boat" -in other words; Jesus was still in the same boat.

* "There were also other boats with him" -each boat could hold about eight fishermen. Jesus had more than eight disciples so it took more boats than one to move.

* "the region of the Gerasenes" -The east side of the lake, a territory largely inhabited by Gentiles, as indicated by the presence of the large herd of pigs-animals Jews considered "unclean" and therefore unfit to eat.

* "Gerasenes" -Gerasa was a town located about 35 miles (56km) south-east of the Sea of Galilee. It may have had holdings on the eastern shore of the Sea, giving its name to a small village there now known as Khersa. About one mile (1.6km) north is a fairly steep slope within 40 yards (36m) of the shore, and about two miles (3km) from there are cavern tombs that appears to have been used as dwellings from time to time.

Gadarenes (Matthew 8:28) was another name for the area probably because it was originally settled by the tribe of Gad. Gadara was the name of one of the ten cities of the Decapolis.

>What happened along the way? (4:37-41)

* Mark 4:37-41 "A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!""

* Perhaps to the disciples, this interrupted their quiet time with Jesus.

>How might they have felt when they finally got to the other side?

* Terrified.

* Tired.

* Relieved.

* Humbled.

* Amazed.

>2. Who met them?

* Mark 5:2 "When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him."

* This is also in Luke 8:26-39. Matthew 8:28-32 is most likely the same event though two men are stated being there. John do not record this event.

* The disciples had a ruff, exhausting, and revealing night. Jesus had challenged their faith and revealed his divine power over the elements. They must have been glad to step on shore. What awaited them wasn't a quiet picnic like setting. They would not have been ready for the next event. Life with Jesus is never a dual moment.

* Landing at this spot was no accident. God planned it. In fact, it is highly possible that the storm was meant to blow the boat to where God wanted it to be, on the south east side of the sea near where the Jordan River drains the sea. A direct course would have been the disciples' most likely choice to land. Directly opposite of Capernaum would have been on the north east side.

* "evil spirit" -The original Greek for "evil spirit" is "akathartos pneuma", also translated "unclean spirit". Luke uses the Greek word "daimonion" and Matthew uses the Greek word "daimonizomai" both translated "demon", "devil", and "god" meaning a false god.

The Old Testament verses Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalm 106:37 help us understand more about these God created beings, once clean but now unclean. When people reject God's call he may send an evil spirit for purposes of having them repent. (Judges 9:23 and 1 Samuel 16:14-23, 18:10, 19:9, and 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, and 1 Timothy 1:19-20). Most of the time they roam the earth as a self-willed spirits looking for people they can enter and control. Yet the demons know there is a God and shudder at this power (James 2:9), as well as God's Son as this passage and many other show.

* "to meet him" -The demon-possessed man went straight for Jesus.

>Describe the man, thinking about each of the facts Mark tells us about him. (3-5)

* Mark 5:3-5 "This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones."

* "With an evil spirit" -The evil spirit dwelt with him in is physical body. Our physical body is controlled by electro-chemical reactions. A spirit whether it be our spirit, the Holy Spirit, or an evil spirit can control the physical body.

* "lived in the tombs" -rejected from society and family. It was not unusual for the same cave to provide burial for the dead and shelter for the living. Very poor people often lived in such caves.

* "no one could bind him any more" -for his good and others good. Being changed was humiliating for him. He obviously was in society at one time.

* "he had often been chained hand and foot" -He was rebellious. Their response to his problem was chains. They could do nothing else.

* "he tore the chains apart and broke the irons" -The demons and adrenaline gave him power. Adrenaline takes away pain. He felt that the people chaining him was not a good thing to do so he wanted to be free. Eventually he left society and lived alone.

* "Night and day...he would cry out" -He was in anguish and as a release of the agony he felt. It is a response to pain and anger.

* "Night and day...he would cut himself with stones" -He lost control of himself. He obviously got no rest. Demons wanted to destroy him.

* "dressed" -He had no self respect and wanted to be free of all that bound and restrained him.

* He was hopeless compared to the man who was possessed in Mark's gospel (Mark 1:21-28)

* Everything he did was in extremes.

>What do these facts suggest about his relationships with his family and his neighbors?

* Broken. It seems that at first they tried to help him. When he didn't improve his relationship with them was slowly cut off. Eventually they gave up on him for they found they had no power to help him.

* His family and friends giving up on him added to his pain and anguish.

* They considered him strange enough to cause him to be and outcast.

>About his attitude toward himself?

* He did not have self respect. He probably hated himself and his problem.

* He tried to escape, but couldn't escape from himself.

* This man's actions are similar to drug addicts.

* People can drive themselves to self destruction.

* He probably hated the way he was, but had lost control of himself.

>What shows his desire for freedom?

* He broke free from his chains.

* He left society that tried to bind him.

* Animals are chained because they can't be controlled.

* Total freedom outside of Christ Jesus is anarchy and chaos.

>3. When he saw Jesus from a distance, what did he do? (6)

* Mark 5:6 "When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him."

* "He ran" -he was desperate to meet Jesus.

* "He fell on his knees in front of him" -His actions indicated either a humble heart or desperation. Since the demons knew who Jesus was (Evil spirits would say he was the Son of God when they meet him) the man also knew who Jesus was.

* He spoke to Jesus. Even though they were not kind or gentle words. He was willing to communicate with him.

>What did he say? (7)

* Mark 5:7 "He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!'"

* "at the top of his voice" -not a very polite man.

>Why do you think he did this?

* Demon's speaking through his voice. Thus the true identity of the man was largely lost (it might be better to say that he was powerless because of the demon's strength). Demons do not have power over a person from birth. However, over a period of time due to sin and rebellion demons gain control and strength inside a person.

* He knew he needed help.

* "What do you want with me" -This was a way of saying, "What do we have in common?" Similar expressions are found in the Old Testament (e.g. 2 Sam. 16:10; 19:22) where they mean, "Mind your own business!" The demons were saying this, not necessarily the man.

* "Jesus, Son of the Most High God" -Demons knew who Jesus was. This name points to Jesus divine origin rather than his Messiahship. The name was used by the demons in accordance with the occult belief that the precise use of a person's name gave certain control over him. The man was possessed by more than one demon, but only one spoke.

* "Swear to God that you won't torture me!" -The evil spirits were subject to Jesus. They knew they could be thrown into the Abyss by him.

* "Swear to God" -The demons sensed that they were to be punished and used the strongest basis for an oath that he knew, though his appeal to God was strangely ironic except it is not wise to swear and oath using God's name for we can not control what will happen next. Swearing using God's name as a basis of our sincerity is egotistical. Jesus did not do it.

>What was his inner conflict?

* The evil spirits were fighting.

* People who saw him either ran or chained him. Jesus didn't do either. Why? Jesus knew the conflict in the man.

* He wanted to change, but he had no power to change.

>4. What did Jesus say before the man spoke? (8)

* Mark 5:8 "For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!""

* When the man came to Jesus, he started the conversation with the evil spirits, not with the man.

* Jesus didn't engage in a conversation with him, but gave them a command to get out.

* Jesus' presence stirred the spiritual longing/need in him.

* The demons didn't come out right away because they didn't want to get hurt.

* They did not care for the man. They only used him. Demons, through modern media, say that they will work with people if they let them in. This is a lie. They hate all mankind because of God's intent for mankind.

>What does this tell us about Jesus?

* He was not afraid.

* He had compassion on the man.

* Jesus has authority over demons.

* Jesus didn't run away from him, nor did he try to subdue him.

* Jesus knew the man's real problem.

* Jesus addressed his real problem.

II. "What is Your Name?" (9,10)

>5. What did Jesus do next to help this man? (9a)

* Mark 5:9a "Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?""

>Why do you think Jesus asked this?

* The man needed to see who he was and his condition. Jesus wanted this man to know himself before God. Through Jesus' conversation the man would know where he was and what was his real problem.

* Jesus sought him and treated the man with dignity for he was made in the image of God.

* Jesus wanted to establish a personal relationship with the man for Jesus knew he was made in the image of God, though quit distorted because of sin.

* God also asked Jacob, "What is you name?", not because Jacob was demon possessed but because Jacob also needed to know where he was before God. When Adam sinned and hid from God he was asked, "Where are you?" We all need to realize our need for the Messiah's power in our lives.

* People called him, "Crazy man" and other names that reflected his miserable state. After hearing this for so long, he soon began to believe that he was hopeless unusually and strange forever. They reinforced his self disrespect.

* He understands men's problems.

* He saw the man as a human, created in the image of God.

* Through Jesus we knew our true selves.

* Jesus is the creator God who sees us as created in the image of God.

* Jesus is the Messiah who helps the indecent and outcasts.

>6. How did this man respond to Jesus' question? (9b)

* Mark 5:9b "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many."

* "My... we" -Demons often confuse people. Mark is pointing out clearly that the man was demon possessed. The man had not his own personality, no direction, no control, no dignity, and no sence of self worth.

>What does this tell us about him? (15)

* Mark 5:15 "When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid."

* "legion" -The Roman army was broken up into legions consisting in 6,000 foot soldiers. So he had many evil spirits.

* The demons often talked for themselves through the man.

* This is a clear demonstration that demons (evil spirits) are soldiers for the devil, Satan, the fallen Lucifer.

>Why might demons have been able to invade him?

* He lead a life of sin. Sin separates us from God. The more we sin, the farther we grow from God. Thus the more comfortable demons feel in us.

* He sought worldly freedom.

* There are many ways to become possessed/controlled by demons. Basically the source of the problem is following rebellious sinful desires.

* People sin because they can not overcome the sinful nature within us without the help of the Holy Spirit.

* Sin separates us from God. Sin distorts the image of God that we were made in. The farther sin drives of from God and distorts his image in us the more susceptible to demons we become. That is one of the reason Satan and his evil spirits tempts us and wants us to sin.

* "out of the area" -More specifically the Abyss. (Luke 8:31, Matt. 25:41) See also Rev. 9:1-11.

III. Jesus Used 2,000 Pigs to Save One Man (11-17)

>7. When Jesus began to help this man, what did the demons see and ask for? (10-12)

* Mark 5:10-12 "And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them."

* Luke 8:31-Abyss.

>How did Jesus respond? (13a)

* Mark 5:13a "He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs."

* Why? So the disciples and those who were there would see the effect and power of the demons. To show the the man he is worth more that 2,000 pigs.

* 2,000 pigs are worth about 2.5 million dollars on the market.

>When the demons left the man and went into the pigs, what happened to them? (13b)

* Mark 5:13b "The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned."

* "pigs" -Pigs are actually intelligent animals.

* "rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned" -The pigs committed suicide. The man could endure the evil spirits, but the pigs couldn't.

>Why was this a dangerous thing for Jesus to allow?

* The pigs were owned by someone else. In today's money this is worth $2.5 million. Jesus didn't ask permission from the owner. However, Jesus from a Godly point of view owned the pigs and everything else. Also he valued the man more than the pigs.

* It ruined the towns economy. Therefore the town would be mad at Jesus. Later they asked him to leave so that he couldn't teach the word of God there.

* 2 Cor. 2:12-13

>What can we learn from Jesus?

* He is willing to sacrifice material things for anyone.

* He wanted to show to the man that he is more precious that 2,000 pigs. Man's soul and well being is worth more than a lot of money.

* Risk self for other's souls.

>8. When the townspeople heard what had happened, and upon seeing the man, how did they respond? (14-17)

* Mark 5:14-17 "Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man--and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region."

>Why do you think they pleaded with Jesus to leave?

* "they were afraid" -Fear of the unknown, fear of Jesus' power and authority, fear of change, and basically they were insecure and selfish.

>What does this show about their basic values?

* Self Centered.

* Materialistic.

* They couldn't see the one man who was saved.

* They did not believe in Jesus for they didn't ask him anything. They only demanded he leave.

III. Jesus Appoints Him as a Gospel Worker (18-20)

>9. As Jesus was leaving, what did the man do? (18)

* Mark 5:18 "As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him."

* "As Jesus was getting into the boat" -Jesus was honoring their request because they had not faith in him. Jesus leaves those who do not want him. He is gentle and humble. He does not force himself onto anyone. His relationship with others is of mutual reciprocated love and respect.


* He wanted to be with his Savior, with someone who carred for him.

* He didn't want to be with those he tried to bind him and hated him.

* He was thankful.

* He didn't want to return to his old life. When Jesus came into my life, I wanted to be with him and not go back to where I had been. To be with him is still my main desire.

>In spite of his pleads, how did Jesus respond? (19a)

* Mark 5:19 "Jesus did not let him..."

* Humanly this would be hard to understand.


* He needed to apologize to those he had hurt. He needed to see if he could rebuild the relatinships he had lose, especially his family. This would bless him and his family.

* So others would hear how God worked in his life and share in his joy.

* He didn't need to experience Jesus' grace as Peter and the other did because he experienced a great change in his life. In other words he was prepared for the mission that Jesus had planned for him.

* He needed to restore all his broken relationships.

* He was to give a life testimony.

>What did Jesus tell him to do? (19b)

* Mark 5:19b "...but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you."

* He didn't need a seminary degree to be a witness for Jesus.

* Jesus gave him a mission without training because Jesus had faith that God would lead him.

>What did he want this man to remember and declare?

* What the Lord had done in his life.

>Why would Jesus' command be a real help to this man?

* He could remember what God did for him.

* He could appreciate what God did for him.

* He wouldn't forget.

* So he wouldn't fall back into his old life.

* He would have a normal life which he had given up for sin.

>What did the man do and how did the people respond? (20) See a map if possible.

* Mark 5:20 "So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed."

* In chapter 7 Jesus will return to this area. He no doubt saw the man and the man brought people, his family and friends to meet Jesus.

* "Decapolis" -meaning all ten cities, not just his family.