Context and Options: In Mark 5 of the New Testament, Mark recorded when Jesus performed miracles and also the ways in which people reacted. People’s reactions revealed a lot about their views of Jesus. We either recognize His deity and flee to Him as the Lord incarnate or we hate Him and rejoice in His murder. Below is the episode in Mark:
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 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.
The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 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. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 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.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. (Mark 5:1-20)
The Responses of the Demon-possessed Man Who Was Delivered and Born Again: 1) Christ is Lord; 2) Proclaim that truth
- “Jesus, Son of the Most High God.” That was the man’s verbal response when he recognized that Jesus was/is God incarnate (Mark 5:7).
- Proclaim the truth. The man, after being delivered of demonic possession by Jesus, begged Jesus to let him remain with Him (Mark 5:18): “As he [Jesus] was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.” Jesus’ response to the man’s pleading? “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” (Mark 5:19).
The Response of Unbelievers:
When the witnesses saw what had happened, what do you think their response was? Human nature was the same then as now:
And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. (Mark 5:16-17)
They hated the truth of Christ. That is the nature of unbelief. It is hostile to truth. It is not neutral or apathetic. It is a visceral gut reaction and disgust for God and His power of everything–demons, human machinations, and evil.
Encouragement: The demonstration of God’s grace towards sinners is overwhelming. For those who repent and believe upon Christ, they are delivered, redeemed, and restored. They are humbled. They are filled with a new joy to proclaim the truth that Christ is Lord. Just like the man who was delivered from demonic possession, reborn men and women are changed; they want to share the good news.
And the song remains the same for unbelievers, too. They still hate Christ, hate His works in history, hate the fact that He has come, lived a perfect substitutionary life, died a perfect substitutionary death, been raised bodily, has established the church, and that the true church continues to prevail against the gates of hell. And the fact that He will come again should both spur believers on to proclaim and live the truth, but also remind us that our days are numbered, and that faithfulness is all. Two options, the ways in which we respond to Christ, and two vastly different outcomes. Be of good courage. Christ is Lord.