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Daily Bible Readings

Cleaning the Demons out of that Missionary

Posted by Dan Sullivan on

[13] So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

[14] The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. [15] And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. [16] And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. [17] And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. [18] As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. [19] And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” [20] And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

Mark 5:13–20 ESV Read More

The people in the land of the Gerasenes were Gentiles from all over the world. They were displaced from all over the world and resettled here. The region is in the Decapolis, which is kind of like saying “Tri-State” only it is talking about 10 cities instead of 3 states. They didn’t have Twitter to spread the word, so when it says the herdsmen fled and told it to the city and in the country, that would take some time. 

It was during the time it took for the herdsman to go out and for the townspeople to come back that the man of the tombs got dressed and spent time learning from Jesus. Not only did he witness Jesus’ power as he was freed from countless demons, but he then had some very specific time to talk to Jesus and the disciples. We don’t know what they talked about, but the event that had just happened was unlike any other. Jesus just said in the last chapter that He spoke in parables to outsiders, but to the disciples, He would teach directly. This man had no trouble believing, so it’s reasonable to believe that Jesus didn’t spend time in parables here. 

When the townspeople come back, the resolution they reach together is that Jesus isn’t welcome there. It’s not clear why they wanted Jesus to leave. They could have been mad that He ruined their bacon festival in the coming weeks. It could have been because the God of the Jews wasn’t understood there and they were afraid. It could have also been because nobody had a way to understand what just happened to the demon-possessed guy. They knew he couldn’t be chained, and here he sat peacefully. They knew he couldn’t be approached, and now he was in his right mind talking about the Kingdom of God. Was it an act? How long would it last?

We are all trying to protect ourselves all the time. There is some invisible line between something that is outrageously good and good enough for us that we don’t like to cross, though. If somebody gives me a cheeseburger, I’m thankful. If they give me a Tesla Model S, I’m suspicious. I remember the first time I ever experienced a miracle. A healing of a kid’s fever, verified by a thermometer, right there before my eyes. I ran out of the house and had to spend about 15 minutes alone asking God if I really believed He answered prayers, and what that meant to my life if He really did! 

When the good shows up, sometimes it can be overwhelming. Jesus got mad at the Pharisees for resisting Him, but He didn’t get mad at the Decapolis. He left that guy behind as a witness and respected the people and left. 

When the fight or flight reflex kicks in, look at Jesus. When the unbelievably good shows up in the name of Jesus, pay attention. You might be the conduit or you might be the recipient, either way, Jesus won’t force Himself in, He’s waiting for your invitation. 

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Tags: demons, evangelism, miracles, missions, power, salvation, witness