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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for the contents
of these Bible study outlines. However, every Bible study posted on this website has been
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JESUS OVERPOWERS LEGION
March 26, 2023
BACKGROUND: What does the Bible say about demons?
Now let me say some things about this matter of demon possession:
1. Not only Mark but all of the Scriptures bear definite witness to the reality of demons.
For those who accept the authority of Scripture, there must be an acceptance of the reality of demons.
2. They were especially evident during the ministry of Jesus but, of course, were not confined to that period.
By the way, we’re living in a day right now when there is a resurgence and a manifestation of demonism again. Many illustrations of this could be given.
3. For some strange reason they seek to indwell mankind.
They seek to manifest their evil nature through human beings. They are extremely restless. This description is clear. “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out” (Luke 11:24). Is this not the characteristic of all evil, even evil men? There is the restlessness of seeking expression of the evil nature.
Good spirits never seek to take possession of men. The Holy Spirit is the one exception, and He only indwells believers. But as truly as He indwells believers so demons can possess the unsaved. Demons cannot possess the saved. We are told that greater is He that is in us (the Holy Spirit) than he that is in the world (Satan) (1
4. In this incident the demons would rather go into a herd of swine than the abyss.
That is interesting to note.
5. They should be called demons and not devils. There is only one Devil (Satan).
Our translation is faulty here. They are called “unclean spirits” because of their nature.
6. Scripture does not give us the origin of them.
Anything I would say today would be highly speculative.
7. There seems to be many of them.
8. They are under the control of Satan.
Now I said I would not speculate, but here I go. I’m of the opinion that when Satan fell, these were the angels that followed him. Now having said that, let’s not say any more.
9. Their purpose is the final undoing of mankind.
They are certainly working on Satan’s program.
10. There are present-day examples of demon possession.
We have Satan worship right in our own neighborhoods, and there are a lot of college students and professors who are engaged in it. They say they find reality in it. I think they do, by the way. I think that Satan is prepared to give reality to those who worship him. The all-important question is: what kind of reality do they find?
11. The Lord Jesus Christ has power over demons.
That, I think, is the great lesson for us to learn. There is no reason for any believer to be afraid of demons or to adopt some superstition or spooky notion concerning them. If you feel that you are bothered with them, then just ask the Lord Jesus to deliver you. They have been cast out in His name, and it is a lack of faith in the Lord Jesus to walk in fear of them today. If you feel that they can control you in any way, or possess you, or direct you, then you need counseling. Remember that the Lord Jesus Christ has power over demons.
– Adapted from “Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee,” Gospel of Mark, chapter 5.
INTRODUCTION: American writer Mark Twain was known for his wit and charm. On a trip to Europe, he was invited to dinner with a head of state. When his daughter learned of the invitation, she said, "Daddy, you know every big person there is to know except God." Sadly, that was true, because Mark Twain was an unbelieving skeptic.
That daughter's comment should cause us to ask ourselves if we know God. We may be blessed with life-enriching friendships, acquainted with a wide circle of important people, but do we know God? And is our knowledge of Him more than second-hand information or speculation, the things we might read in books?
Jesus wanted His disciples to have an intimate knowledge of God. He prayed, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (John 17:3). This knowledge is intensely personal, and is gained only through a deep, prolonged friendship. Indeed, the knowledge referred to in this text and elsewhere in Scripture is compared with the intimacy of husband and wife as they become one (Genesis 4:1).
I. A DEMON-POSSESSED
A. Jesus Went To The Land Of Gadara. (Mark 5:1)
And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. (Mark 5:1)
The Lord Jesus had taught on the other side and had given them parables. He was exhausted and so had crossed the sea. The Gadarenes were the inhabitants of Gadara, and this is the land that was given to the tribe of Gad on the east side of the Jordan River, Remember, Gad chose the wrong side of Jordan. They were the ones who stayed on the east side, and now we find them in the pig business. When you start away from God, you just keep going away from Him.
B. Immediately A Maniac Met The Lord. (Mark 5:2)
And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. (Mark 5:2)
He is “a man,” a human being. Notice that first of all and write it down. He is in a desperate condition, but he is still a man. That is what the Lord Jesus saw -- a man. In spite of his condition, the Lord saw the man. His conduct suggests that the man was a maniac. Now notice what it says about him.
C. Jesus Saw His Wretched Condition. (Mark 5:3-5)
Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. (Mark 5:3–5)
1. This is a grim case of a man possessed with an unclean spirit.
He dwelt, which means he settled down, among the tombs. This is where he lived; this was his ghetto. The tombs were unclean places. The dead were there, and sometimes the bodies were exposed. He no longer enjoyed the society of normal men but he lived among the dead.
2. We find from Matthew that there was another man, but Mark and Luke center on this one.
We gather that the other man was no companion to this man, nor, of course, were the dead any company to him. He was alone. Yet we are told that he possessed superhuman power; so, they could not bind him. Just because a man demonstrates power which is supernatural does not prove that God gave it to him. This case is a typical example. He was a wild man; no one could confine him. He was miserable. He suffered great physical harm which he inflicted on himself. He is a creature of sorrow and pity, and on the human plane he is a hopeless case. He is incoherent and crying out. What an awful condition! And all due to demon possession!
D. The Man Cried Out To Jesus. (Mark 5:6-8)
But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. (Mark 5:6–8)
It was the man who worshiped Jesus Christ, not the demon. He was afraid of Jesus. He suffered from what I could be called “spiritual schizophrenia,” a split personality. Sometimes it is the man speaking and sometimes it is the demon speaking. In verse 7 it literally says, “What is there to thee and me?” That is, “What have we in common?” This poor man was possessed by demons!
E. The Demons Overwhelm The Man. (Mark 5:9)
And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. (Mark 5:9)
The answer of this man is baffling but it’s not bad grammar. He says, “My name is ….” indicating that the man was trying to speak, but then the demons take over and they say, “We are many.”
F. Jesus Commanded The Demons To Leave The Man. (Mark 5:10-13)
And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. (Mark 5:10–13)
1. There is a tremendous occurrence presented to us here.
The demons made a very peculiar request. They preferred swine to the abyss. The permission of Jesus here has been severely criticized by men who are liberal in their theology. Their objection has been that He would not destroy the swine, as the “gentle Jesus” would not do things like that. That is nonsense, of course.
2. The Lord Jesus could have sent the demons anywhere; but when He chose to send them into the pigs, He accomplished several purposes.
(1) Christ demonstrated that the demons were real and that the deliverance was genuine.
(2) Christ gave vivid proof that Satan is a destroyer (Rev. 9:11;
INSIGHT: If you surrender your life to Satan and sin, you end up living and dying like an animal. What a warning this was to those who saw it; but apparently, they did not take it to heart, for they asked Jesus to depart from them. As the Creator, Jesus Christ owns all things (Psalm 50:10) and can dispose of them as He sees fit.
(3) The destruction of the pigs revealed the spiritual condition of the people of that district.
They would rather have their swine than have Jesus Christ as their Savior! Money was more important than the healing of this man or the salvation of their own souls.
WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
Read: Mark 5:6-9
“Then [Jesus] asked him, ‘What is your name?’ And he answered, saying, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many.’” (Mark 5:9)
The army of the Roman Empire was nothing if not organized. The largest division was a legion, consisting of 6,000 soldiers. Legions were divided into ten cohorts (600 soldiers each), and each cohort was divided into six centuries (100 soldiers each).
In the fifth chapter of Mark, we are introduced to the Gadarene demoniac. Upon His arrival in the country of the Gadarenes, Jesus was approached by this deranged man, who cried out, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” (Mark 5:7) Jesus responded with a single command for the “unclean spirit” to come out of the man. And then Jesus asked him his name. The man replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” That didn’t mean the man was possessed by 6,000 demons; it only meant that there were “many” demons in him, not just one. Once Jesus ordered the demons to leave the man, they did, and he was immediately restored to his right mind—a miracle of restoration.
The use of the military term “Legion” was appropriate for this man during his torment, for it represented the multitude of demons that plagued him until he met Jesus and he was healed. When we meet Christ, we are set free from the chains that once kept us captive to our sin as well.
“We can call out even to the demons in hell, ‘Which of you is going to condemn me?’ And there will be NO answer.” -- John R. W. Stott
-- Adapted from a devotional by David Jeremiah, “Turning Point,” September 5, 2018
II. A BELIEVER IS SENT OUT. (Mark 5:18-20)
“And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel. (Mark 5:18-20)
A. The Possessed Man Was A Changed Man; He Was Now A Believer.
And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel. (Mark 5:18-20)
B. The Former Possessed Man Was Now A Gospel Witness.
This healed men so appreciated what Jesus had done for him that he wanted to go with Him and serve Him, but Jesus sent him home to bear witness to the Gentiles in that area. It is interesting that Jesus answered the requests of the demons and of the citizens, but He did not agree to the request of the man who wanted to be His disciple. This says to us, before you go out to serve Jesus elsewhere, be sure you have served Him faithfully at home (Mark 5:19-20).
TELL YOUR STORY
An organizational consultant in New York says that his graduate students typically recall only 5 percent of the main ideas in a presentation of graphs and charts, while they generally remember half of the stories told in the same presentation. There is a growing consensus among communication experts about the power of the personal touch in relating an experience. While facts and figures often put listeners to sleep, an illustration from real life can motivate them to action. Author Annette Simmons says, “The missing ingredient in most failed communication is humanity.”
Knowledge and eloquence are often over rated in the process of communicating the good news of Jesus Christ. Never underestimate the power of what God has done for you, and don’t be afraid to tell your story to others. – Adapted from a devotional by David C. McCasland, “Our Daily Bread,” August 24, 2009
CONCLUSION: What do we learn when we read Mark chapter 5?
First, We Learn That Jesus Christ Helped A Demoniac (Mark 5:1–20).
Jesus went through a storm to get to two demoniacs (Matthew 8:28) who needed his help. The demons begged not to be sent to the pit (verse 10), the citizens begged Jesus to leave (verse 17), and one healed man begged to be allowed to go with Jesus (verse 18). The citizens were concerned more with financial profit than with spiritual benefit. Imagine asking Jesus to leave you!
Secondly, We Learn That We Can Come To Jesus Christ (Mark 5:21–34).
All kinds of people came to the feet of Jesus. A well-known synagogue leader and an anonymous sick woman could find help there. Perhaps the woman’s faith was a bit superstitious, but the Lord still honored it. If you cannot grasp His hand, touch the hem of His garment. The first step of faith, no matter how weak, will lead to greater blessings.
Thirdly, We Learn That Jesus Christ Will Go With Us (Mark 5:35–43).
No situation is so desperate that Jesus cannot work. Disease, delays, and even death are under His control. Jesus goes with you to the place of disappointment and sorrow and meets your needs. No matter how depressing your situation may appear, “Do not be afraid; only believe” (verse 36). The Savior is working for you.
INSIGHT: Evidence of Jesus Christ’s mastery over nature (Mark 4:35-41) was followed by an incident which demonstrated His mastery over supernatural forces. In the non-Jewish district of Gadara Jesus expelled demons from a wild man and sent them into a herd of pigs.
Only Jesus' touch could deliver the demon-possessed man from his tormented existence and make him whole again. Only God's touch can heal you as well and make you whole again.
THOUGH TO REMEMBER: “Sharing the gospel is one person telling another person good news.”
REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the Moody Bible Commentary, J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible Commentary: (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, Dr. Tony Evans (https://tonyevans.org/), KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Dr. Robert Jeffress’ Pathway to Victory (https://ptv.org/), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, Radio Bible Class Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations and other references.
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