Wednesday, August 23, 2017

No Contest

As soon as he got out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met him. He lived in the tombs, and no one was able to restrain him anymore—not even with a chain— because he often had been bound with shackles and chains, but had torn the chains apart and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.

When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before him. And he cried out with a loud voice, “What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you before God, don’t torment me!” For he had told him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”

“What is your name?” he asked him.

“My name is Legion,” he answered him, “because we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the region.

A large herd of pigs was there, feeding on the hillside. The demons begged him, “Send us to the pigs, so that we may enter them.” So he gave them permission, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs. The herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned there.
Mark 5:2-13

This poor man was in complete and utter bondage to thousands of demons living inside him. These demons self-identified as "Legion" which is a word for a six thousand member unit of the Roman army. That does not necessarily mean there were six thousand of them but we do know there were enough to run a herd of pigs numbering about two thousand off a cliff. So it is safe to say thousands of demons had completely taken over this man's body and his life.

If you read carefully you'll notice that many had opposed these demons in this man's life. They had tried to bind or confine them in some way but had failed. First, we see that the man himself had been unable to control them. He was powerless against so many, no longer in control of his own life. The passage tells us that he cut himself and cried out daily. What a hellish and tormented experience. Second, the community had no success in getting the demons to conform to societal and cultural norms. Not only did this man live outside of the town in the tombs, but Luke 8:27 tells us that he hadn't even worn clothes in a long time. So, societal pressure had no effect on them whatsoever. Lastly, we see that the civil authorities failed as well. They tried to overpower the demons by binding the man with shackles and chains. They did this on numerous occasions but the demons were stronger than their chains. They simply tore them off.

But when Jesus stepped out of the boat onto that shore, everything changed. Here was a man who could bind and defeat the demons that so plagued this poor soul. It was one against thousands, and it was still a lopsided victory. It took no effort on Jesus' part, just a word and the demons were gone. Just a word and Jesus had rescued this poor man from the hellish torment. Just a word from the Word and the man was in his right mind again. Jesus alone could bind and defeat this army of demons because He alone has absolute authority.

This same Jesus lives within you, believer! Whatever spiritual battle you face, turn to Him. Whatever physical challenge, turn to Him. Whatever discouragement, whatever pain, whatever torment, it is nothing compared to His incomparable authority, power and mercy. Be encouraged, O believer! "For greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world!" (I John 4:4).

No comments: