Freedom and the Cost of Attention
 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him.  And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”  For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”  And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”  And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country.  Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside,  and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.”  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. (ESV)
Mark 5:6–13 ESV Read More
This guy saw Jesus coming and ran to meet Him. The man, full of demons, talks to Jesus but Jesus has already been telling the demon to come out.
The man asks “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” It’s like he doesn’t know why Jesus would come all of the way across the lake to meet him. At the same time, as soon as Jesus tells the demon to come out, he begins speaking back to Jesus. This is one of the only passages in scripture where Jesus has a conversation with a demonic force as He is driving it out.
The demons in this man are even in rebellion as they are losing their ground. Calling Jesus out as the Son of God is rebellious because Jesus knows the disciples aren’t fully ready to grasp that truth yet.
When Jesus asks for their name, Jesus is showing His full authority. He has the right to demand obedience from these demons. He doesn’t know everything because part of being ‘fully man’ is that He only knows what The Father tells Him. When the demons say their name is Legion, they use the same word that meant 6,000 Roman soldiers. You can imagine what Peter and John would have thought when they heard that.
Legion asks to not be cast into the Abyss yet and to not even be taken from the local area. This spirit wants to stick around and probably continue to cause trouble. Jesus says in another Gospel that He won’t cast them into the Abyss because it’s not the time for that yet (?!) but instead, He gives them permission to enter into the heard of pigs. This goes back to the authority. Jesus didn’t cast them into a heard of pigs, but they asked, and Jesus gave them permission.
As crazy as this man was as he was fighting off these demons, the pigs did worse. The man was a victim of their possession and spent his days crying and cutting himself. When the pigs were overcome, they went berserk and drowned. Now the man is made clean and free by Jesus. It’s really genius of Jesus, because if the man dressed up and walked back into town, nobody would trust that he was all better. It took the disaster of the pig farmer to raise the attention of the townspeople so they would come out and see the man with Jesus.
The disaster was horrible, for certain. As a food supply and a source of local commerce, a large heard of pigs would destroy several people’s livelihood and seriously affect the fishing! This drew the people out to see what had happened and to find out first-hand that Jesus had landed on their shores.
Are there things that shock us into noticing Jesus? Of course there are. Do there have to be things like that? Usually. Would the man who was made clean now say that it was all worth it? He would.
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