THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
THE GERASENE DEMONIAC
Today’s gospel: Mark 5:1-20
Jesus had an encounter with “a man from the tombs who
had an unclean spirit” (v.2b). Or rather, the man had
an encounter with Jesus. The man “met him” (v.2c).
man was the epitome of those who live without Christ.
“The man had been dwelling among the tombs”
(v.3a). Sin is death. When we persist in a life of serious
sin, we are like zombies roaming the earth, the living dead.
“He had frequently been bound with shackles and chains”
(v.4a). The world, under the dominion of the evil one, enslaves
us. We are bound by addictions and other dark things of
the world that keep us from the freedom that is in Christ.
“No one could restrain him any longer, even with a
chain.” (v.3b). When we give in to our unruly desires,
we end up setting aside all restraints. In the world today,
there is less and less restriction on anything, leading
to licentiousness and hedonism.
chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed”
(v.4b). Those who are persons of goodwill may try to rein
in unruly behavior of their loved ones, but parents and
pastors are no longer listened to. Once the devil takes
over, we are deep in bondage.
one was strong enough to subdue him.” (v.4c). Being
the work of the evil one, we are weak and often powerless
to resist, if we rely only on ourselves. Even Paul at one
point decried his inability to do right due to the weakness
of his flesh. The world, the flesh and the devil conspire
to keep us in bondage.
was “bruising himself with stones.” (v.5b).
Those in the world think they are living a great life, but
they are unaware of the great injury they are inflicting
and day among the tombs and on the hillsides he was always
crying out” (v.5a). There is still that soul within
us, even with those seemingly totally lost, that cries out
to God who created us. On the outside we might be enjoying
our revelry and licentious lifestyle, but within us is a
desperate soul crying out to our Maker. We should then not
give up on anyone.
“asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied,
‘Legion is my name. There are many of us.’”
(v.9). The enemy’s dominion is extensive and pervasive.
But there was always hope, because there is Jesus. “Catching
sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself
before him” (v.6). We need to be given the opportunity
to encounter Jesus, to sense that he is someone who can save
us from our wretched existence. Then we should actually go
to him, nay, run to him, for here already is our salvation.
We must humble ourselves before him, accepting him as our
Savior and our Lord.
oftentimes there is a fierce struggle. The devil does not
give up his dominion that easily. The man was “crying
out in a loud voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus,
Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment
me!” (v.7). Even as we are given the opportunity to
encounter Jesus, oftentimes we resist. We are comfortable
in our wayward ways. Even as we recognize that Jesus is the
Son of God, we wrongly look on him as trying to take away
our toy and our joy. The irony is that we consider the one
who would free us from torment to be the tormentor.
fact, the man, with the many unclean spirits in him, “pleaded
earnestly with (Jesus) not to drive them away from that territory.”
(v.10). The enemy is a territorial spirit. He takes territory
that rightly belongs to God. He will not yield territory easily.
Unknowingly, we often stand with the enemy to defend his territory.
Jesus, in his love and mercy, said to him, “Unclean
spirit, come out of the man!” (v.8). Jesus addressed
the unclean spirit. Jesus looks on all of us as his brothers,
all children of God, created in His image and likeness. But
we have been dominated by the evil one, been made unclean
and unrecognizable. Jesus then frees us and restores us. Thus
“the unclean spirits came out” (v.13b).
man had a remarkable encounter with Jesus and saw his life
changed totally. He had met Christ. He underwent
personal conversion and transformation in Christ.
The change was awesome. “And people came to see what
had happened. As they approached Jesus, they caught sight
of the man who had been possessed by Legion, sitting there
clothed and in his right mind.” (v.14b-15a). The possessed
was now free. The wild unkempt creature was now calm and collected.
The one who acted like an insane person was now in his right
mind. That is transformation. The man was now living
man wanted more. “As (Jesus) was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.”
(v.18). But Jesus had something else he wanted the man to
do. He was to share Christ. So Jesus “told
him instead, ‘Go home to your family and announce to
them all that the Lord in his pity had done for you.”
(v.19b). We are to share Christ, first to those who are closest
to us, our own family and home environment. But we are not
to stop there, as the man did not. “Then the man went
off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had
done for him” (v.20a). This man in fact was the first
missionary sent by Jesus himself, even before he sent the
twelve apostles on mission.
The event was not a happy ending for all. The townspeople
“were seized with fear.” (v.15b). That was the
appropriate reaction, one of awe, of wonderment, of fear at
the power of God. But then, what was their response? “Then
they began to beg him to leave their district.” (v.17).
They resented the fact that their large herd of about two
thousand swine perished. They were unmindful of how the man
with an unclean spirit had been freed. Perhaps they themselves
were influenced by the evil one in some way, and wanted to
keep things that way.
should not allow negative remarks, hostile attitudes, uncaring
postures and the like to keep us from proclaiming Christ.
Jesus is good news. We just do our work, we witness to Christ,
we proclaim what Jesus has done for us, and we will see the
result: “all were amazed.” (v.20b).