Whenever I talk about Satan, demons, spiritual warfare, or anything remotely related, the numbers of distractions in the room increase exponentially.
This is a pattern I have documented over 40 years of ministry.
Regardless of time of day, day of week, season of year, or venue in which I teach, it’s as if the devil himself does not want anyone (including you) to hear what the Bible teaches about our (and God’s) archenemy.
That was certainly true at Safe Haven when I recorded this PODCAST.
I can say without fear of contradiction that the principles you will learn in this message from the life and ministry of Jesus to a demon-possessed man, Satan does NOT want you to hear.
Don’t be surprised at the numbers of distractions that you will face when you try to hear this.
Let’s start out by reading Mark 5:1-2
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.
Now, keep in mind the context of these verses – what’s been going on in Jesus’ ministry leading up to this point. The religious leaders were growing more and more hostile to Jesus, even to the point of suggesting that He was actually doing the work of the devil. The crowds who once followed Him everywhere and hung on every word were quickly abandoning Him. Jesus’ teaching strategy also was changing – huddling with His disciples and preparing them for the hard times soon to come instead of wide spanning messages for the multitudes. Additionally, He was revealing to His followers that a new kingdom was coming, and in the end, God wins.
But on this day, we see Jesus do something that He had not previously done – leave what was regarded as Israel and go to a foreign country. As if, now that the religious establishment had made the point that Jesus was Satan in the flesh, He would leave the Jewish country and minister to the people living in the land of the pagans.
When Jesus said, “Let’s go to the other side of the sea”, though it was only seven miles in distance, it was a different country. Any other rabbi would tell his students to avoid such people as the Gerasenes, with all the pagan opulence, sin, and evil that was rampant in the Decapolis – but Jesus deliberately went there and took His disciples with Him.
So, it was probably no surprise to Jesus or His disciples that the first person they encountered when the docked “on the other side of the sea” was demon possessed, living among the tombs, naked, out of control, and filled with rage and self-loathing.
Then Jesus showed up. He showed up with the expressed purpose of meeting the demonized man.
He went mano a mano with the demons, who didn’t stand a chance fighting against the Son of God. Knowing they were defeated, they begged Him for mercy, screaming, “Send us over there! Do not send us to hell!”
When Jesus asked the demon’s name, the reply came, “We are Legion because we are many.” So, it wasn’t just a single demon that inhabited this man, but an entire legion of them.
What’s unbelievable is Jesus’ mercy, when He sent those demons “over there” to inhabit a nearby drove of pigs, which in response ran themselves off a cliff and into the sea to drown.
Further mercy was delivered as Jesus then spoke with the man, explained to him what had just happened and soothed him with a comfort that the man had not known for years.
The man then wanted to follow Jesus. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain by walking away from the tombs and serving Jesus wherever He might go. Meanwhile, there was an angry mob of pig farmers who just saw their 2,000 swine take a freefall off of the nearby cliff forming nearby. They were ready to lynch the man and his Savior.
The man was ready to jump in the boat with Jesus’ disciples right then and there.
But Jesus said no.
Instead, He told the man to go back to his hometown and tell everyone that he saw what Jesus did for him.
The word got out.
The very next time that Jesus showed up at the Decapolis, 4,000 people showed up to hear Him teach, thanks to the evangelical message of the formerly demon possessed, first Christian missionary to the Decapolis.
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