Week 60 | Section 66

Wild boar in Southern CaliforniaMordechai Anielewicz1 wrote, “The most difficult struggle of all is the one within ourselves.”  Such was the skirmish on the day Jesus emancipated a man from Gerasenes who had been tormented by demons and rejected by his own. He sat alone, rankled and writhing until Jesus came to the rescue. Mercy knows no greater pleasure than to give aid to those without hope.


Scripture

Matthew 8:28-34
28 When he came to the other side,2 into the country of the Gergesenes, two people3 possessed by demons4 met him there, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that nobody could pass that way.

 

 

 

 

29 Behold, they cried out, saying, “What do we have to do with you, Jesus, Son of God?5 Have you come here to torment us before the time?”6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Now there was a herd of many pigs feeding far away from them. 31 The demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of pigs.” 32 He said to them, “Go!” They came out, and went into the herd of pigs: and behold, the whole herd of pigs rushed down the cliff into the sea, and died in the water.7 33 Those who fed them fled, and went away into the city, and told everything, including what happened to those who were possessed with demons. 34 Behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus.

 

 

When they saw him, they begged that he would depart from their borders.

Mark 5:1-20
1 They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 When he had come out of the boat, immediately a man with an unclean spirit met him out of the tombs. 3 He lived in the tombs. Nobody could bind him any more, not even with chains, 4 because he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him, and the fetters broken in pieces. Nobody had the strength to tame him. 5 Always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and bowed down to him, 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have I to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, don’t torment me.” 8 For he said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 He asked him, “What is your name?” He said to him, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”8 10 He begged him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

11 Now on the mountainside there was a great herd of pigs feeding.9  12 All the demons begged him, saying, “Send us into the pigs, that we may enter into them.” 13 At once Jesus gave them permission. The unclean spirits came out and entered into the pigs. The herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and they were drowned in the sea. 14 Those who fed them fled, and told it in the city and in the country. The people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 They came to Jesus, and saw him who had been possessed by demons sitting, clothed, and in his right mind,10 even him who had the legion; and they were afraid. 16 Those who saw it declared to them what happened to him who was possessed by demons, and about the pigs. 17 They began to beg him to depart from their region. 18 As he was entering into the boat, he who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 He didn’t allow him, but said to him, “Go to your house, to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how he had mercy on you.”11 20 He went his way, and began to proclaim in Decapolis how Jesus had done great things for him, and everyone marveled.

Luke 8:26-39
26 They arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, a certain man out of the city who had demons for a long time met him. He wore no clothes, and didn’t live in a house, but in the tombs.

 

 

 

28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, “What do I have to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torment me!” 29 For Jesus was commanding the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For the unclean spirit had often seized the man. He was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters. Breaking the bonds apart, he was driven by the demon into the desert. 30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered into him. 31 They begged him that he would not command them to go into the abyss. 32 Now there was there a herd of many pigs feeding on the mountain, and they begged him that he would allow them to enter into those. Then he allowed them. 33 The demons came out of the man, and entered into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned. 34 When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. 35 People went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who saw it told them how he who had been possessed by demons was healed. 37 All the people of the surrounding country of the Gadarenes asked him to depart from them, for they were very much afraid. Then he entered into the boat and returned. 38 But the man from whom the demons had gone out begged him that he might go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your house, and declare what great things God has done for you.” He went his way, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.


Group Dialog:

  1. Why is it errant to see God and Satan as polar opposites (yin/yang)?
  2. Talk about what kinds of “footholds” the devil can get in the life of a Christian.
  3. What dangers (what risk) do the “footholds” present to the believer, those whom they love/know? and the purposes of God?
  4. Why is it important for Christians to know about demons, demoniacs, and deliverance?
  5. Discuss the authority of Jesus and eternal plan after reading the study notes in Mt 8:32 (or the content of this pdf).
  6. What is the nature and definition of mercy?
  7. Share stories of how God delivered you (if so), or how the Gospel and Scriptural truths have “set you free”.
  8. Talk about the nature of “mercy”.

Learning Objectives: the authority of Jesus, the reality of demons, demonic possession, judgement of demons, deliverance, end times, Satan, demoniac, mercy.


Photo: Wild Boar in southern California.


Study Notes:

  1. A brief biography of this young Jewish man caught up in the wake of Hitler’s wrath and the Holocaust.
  2. That is the night Jesus calmed the Sea while he and his disciples crossed from Capernaum to Kursi
  3. Thomas and Gundry note that the three gospelers tell the story of one of these men (Mark and Luke only allude to the second man).  No doubt the one with the legion of demons was in worse condition, but it can be assumed that Jesus delivered them both.
  4. Demon possession is real and dangerous (25 NT passages). The demons (fallen angels) are a might force under the command of Satan (Lucifer) who rebelled and rejected God’s authority. For them “Hell” was created, but until “the great day” they are free to roam, possess, and provoke Christians and (non) pre-believers alike. Demon possession is a powerful and dangerous situation. Most people are only oppressed, tempted, and tormented by demons.  Demonic possession is an act of the will just as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit happens as the Christian disciple invites the Spirit of God to reside within and guide them. Christians are not possessed by demons – unless they renounce Jesus and invite the Demons to reside within them (Colossians 1:13; 2Timothy 1:7). Christians are known to fall victim to the Devil’s schemes (1Peter 5:8), let him get a foothold (2Cor 2:5-11), and even become disoriented followers (1John 1:38) working against the purposes of God (See: Section 83 | Matthew 16:23;Mark 8:33). Rest assured that Jesus is more powerful than any and every force under Satan’s control. Jesus also has charge of the angels (Matthew 26:53). When facing any form of evil attack I urge you to attend to the basics first: 1) pray alone and with Christian friends/clergy 2) confess sins, repent, and clean house 3) surrender to Jesus Lordship 4) read the Word of God 5) trust in the finished work of Jesus.  I pray you need never engage in deliverance. Learn more about Satan and his Demons by downloading this pdf or read the other study note in vs 32.
  5. The demons knew who he was (Luke 4:41), they had known Jesus since their creation. James the half-brother of Jesus wrote of those who recognize Jesus but do not worship him (James 2:19) meaning it is not enough to know Jesus, he must be followed, honored, obeyed, and worshiped.
  6. See study note in vs 32 or read (Matthew 25:41,46; Revelation 20:14-15).
  7. These demons met their peril before the others (Rev 20:10). It should be understood that Satan and Demons are actually fallen angels (Revelation 12:7-9; 2 Pet 2:4). They both exist. They knew who Jesus was, Jesus spoke to them, they spoke to Jesus, they spoke to others and they told others they knew Jesus. The Biblical record and the Gospels alone are full of events that clarify their existence and (limited) power.  They had been created by God as angels – spiritual beings (Colossians 1:16; John 1:3; Ephesians 6:12; Hebrews 1:14) and therefore do not experience death in mortal terms. However, it was the pigs that died in the water, not the demons, and when their host died the demons certainly looked again for someone or something else to steal, kill, or destroy (Luke 11:24-26; John 10:10). While Jesus is both creator and victor over every evil force even death, (2Tim 2:10, Heb 2:14, Rev 21:4) the final judgement of the demons will happen “on the great day” (Jude 1:6) and even then they will not die but rather experience “everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:41,46) in “the Lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14-15).
  8. The demonic forces under Satan’s command has order, ranks, realms and specialties (Eph 6:12). H. Preisker notes (1942) that “in the imperial period a legion consisted of 6000 foot soldiers, 120 horsemen and technical personnel.” In this situation we are hearing about the kind of demon which possesses a human. Of that kind there are many and each has certain skill sets. This is why there would be so many (a legion) in the man. Possession may comes by innocent child’s play or outright invitation. Once one comes in to reside more are sure to join in soon enough. The lure is that these spirits offer some form of power or protection from other forces and lies (in truth truths of which the victim does not yet want to hear). One demon offers their “aid” in one aspect and another in another aspect of the individuals life.  Each demon subjects the poor soul to more and more torture, lies, and domination. Fear and arrogance is the root of so many such.
  9. These were most likely wild boar. The average weight of a mature boar living in Israel is about 440 lbs. It might be of interest to some that scientists have mapped the gene pool of present day wild boar in Israel as decedents of boar brought from Europe circa 900BC.
  10. Some would like to excuse demon possession as some form of schizophrenia or multiple personalities, but it is not nearly the same. (Even if it were some mental illness would it still not be a miracle to see two such men healed?)
  11. “Liberty is a slow fruit” said Ralph Waldo Emerson concerning the Emancipation Proclomation. Spiritual freedom upsets the status quo, yet it can be enjoyed only by those who allow the soil of their hearts to be turned by God’s mercy and truth. We see especially in this case that the man whom Jesus set free took nothing for granted and treasured his liberty and the mercy he received. As Emerson concluded in the aforementioned quote “…a good seed has been sown and the fruit is sure to come.”