Mark 5:1-20 (Mark gives the most detailed account of this story.)
Also found in Matthew 8:28-34,9:1 and Luke 8:26-39.
(After Jesus calmed the sea) he and his disciples went over to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes (the country of the Gergesenes).
Gadara is an area within the country of Gergesa.
When Jesus came out of the ship, he was met by a man.
How was this man described?
- He has an unclean spirit
- He lives among the tombs
- He had been bound with shackles and chains often, “but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces.” ESV
- No man could man tame him.
- He was always, night and day, crying, and cutting himself with stones, KJV says crying, other translations say crying out. I feel sure both are true.
- Matthew tells us that he was “exceeding fierce” and no man could pass by that way.
- Luke tells us he wore no clothes.
Matthew says there were two possessed men in the tombs. This must be true. But Mark and Luke focus on the events that happened to one of these two men.
What was this man’s response when he saw Jesus “afar off”?
He ran and worshipped him.
Then he cried with a loud voice, “What have I to do with you, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? (Are you come here to torment us before the time? – Matthew 8:29) I adjure you by God, that you torment me not.
James 2:19 says You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! (NKJV)
Come out of the man, you unclean spirit. What is your name?
My name is Legion: for we are many.
And Legion begged Jesus not to send them away out of the country. (Luke says “into the deep” KJV, other versions translate “into the abyss.”)
Near the mountains, a herd of two thousand pigs was feeding.
All the devils begged Jesus to send them into the pigs.
And Jesus gave them permission.
The unclean spirits left the man and entered into the pigs.
The herd of pigs ran violently down a steep place into the sea and drowned.
Pigs running down a steep place is very unusual. It’s hard to even force a pig to walk down a steep place.
The men who fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country.
And the people of the area came out to Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed with the legion of devils.
How is the possessed man described after he encountered Jesus?
- He was sitting.
- He was clothed.
- He was “in his right mind.”
How did the people of the area respond?
- They were afraid.
- They begged Jesus to leave their coasts.
But that’s not the end of the story.
When Jesus went into the ship, the man who had been possessed with the legion of devils begged Jesus to let him go with him.
But Jesus said, Go home to your friends, and tell them about the great things the Lord has done for you, and how he has had compassion on you.
And Jesus passed over the sea, and came into his own city, Capernaum.
And the man left, and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him. (Decapolis means ten cities. It was a country that contained ten principal cities.)
Everyone who heard his story was amazed.
Like this man, we should tell about the great things the Lord has done for us, and how he has had compassion on us.