Chapter 17

From the tombs to tranquility
Mark 5:1-20 (NASB)

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1 And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 And constantly night and day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out and gashing himself with stones. 6 And seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What do I have to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” 8 For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 And he began to entreat Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now there was a big herd of swine feeding there on the mountain. 12 And the demons entreated Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” 13 And He gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea. 14 And their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened. 16 And those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. 17 And they began to entreat Him to depart from their region. 18 And as He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was entreating Him that he might accompany Him. 19 And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone marvelled.

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Mark 5:1-8
A desperate man’s despair

On Galilee’s eastern shore, influenced by the city of Gadara, is countryside surrounding a small town called Gersa. Jesus travels there by boat. Among the tombs lives a totally uncontrolled man, possessed by an unclean spirit. Untameable and strong, he breaks his metal chains, continually shrieks loudly among the mountains and tombs, and gashes himself with stones.  Not realising that Jesus can meet his huge need, he runs to Jesus, bows before Him and yells out, What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!  Despairing of help or healing from the only One who can change him, he fears irrationally that Jesus will harm him. Today, many folks desperately needing Jesus think following Him will spoil and harm their lives. Desperation and despair should drive them to Jesus, not from Him! But Jesus is already working in this man. He commands the unclean spirit to leave this dirty, dangerous, despairing and desperate man, so fully at home among the dead.

Mark 5:9-13
Divine power and drowned pigs

The unclean spirit, named ‘Legion’, consists of many demons. Showing total power over evil, Jesus ejects them, allowing them to enter a herd of about two thousand swine. The pigs charge into the water and drown.

Mark 5:14-17
Profit lost but peace regained

The swineherds quickly publicise this. Curious crowds gather to see a totally changed man, clothed and in his right mind, sitting quietly with Jesus. More scared than ever, they ask Jesus to leave. Profits from pigs counts more than restoring lost humanity.

No matter who or how bad, Jesus still saves and changes all who trust Him.[1] Is your life out of control? Do you hurt inside and lack peace? Do people avoid you because of your lifestyle? Are you ‘hopeless’ too? Turn to Jesus. Ask Him to enter your life, to forgive you and rule lovingly in your heart with His peace and purity. He can change you from selfish wrongdoing to love Him and spend time with Him in prayer and Bible reading. But expect some opposition. Some will misunderstand Christ’s change in you and think you’re strange.[2]

Mark 5: 18-20
New Person-New Priorities

As Jesus is leaving, His new follower asks to accompany Him. Jesus refuses—he must now go tell his own people how God has renewed him. He obeys. In Decapolis he shares with amazed people how Jesus has changed him. What an excellent example for Christians to follow! First trust in Jesus: your life begins to change. Then spend time with Him in personal devotions. Then share the good news with others!

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[1]  .  Hebrews 7:25.
[2]  .  1 Peter 4:4.

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Questions on Chapter 17
Mark 5:1-20 From the tombs to tranquillity.

A. Describe the man who is possessed by the demons. Are there people today who share some of his problems?   Mark 5:2-5    1 John 5:19    Romans 7:19    John 8:34

B. Contrast the attitudes to Jesus of the totally changed man and those wanting Jesus to leave. What makes the difference?   Isaiah 53:3    Mark 5:17-18    Psalm 116:1

C. What is the first thing that Jesus asks His new follower to do? What does he actually do? What should you do that perhaps he failed do? How can you do what he rightly did?    Mark 5:18    Mark 5:19-20 Romans 10:9-10