Lesson 162-September 9, “An Unusual Welcoming”

Lesson 162-September 9, 2018
Lesson Title: “An Unusual Welcoming”
Scripture: Mark 5:1-17, key passage verses 1-5
Lesson Goal: To learn about Jesus’ encounter with a demon possessed man.

Introduction: In one of the literary classics by C S. Lewis, we find a glimpse into the schemes and tactics of the forces of evil. Lewis writes, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an excessive and un- healthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors.”

Please take a moment and offer your thoughts on the meaning of the introductory quote by C. S. Lewis.

Concerning the statements by C. S. Lewis, Daniel Akin writes, “Lewis is right and the human race has fallen into both errors”. Akin continues, “we need a good dose of biblical balance and sanity. Mark 5 provides an excellent starting point. Yes, Jesus believed demons were real, and that should settle for all of us the question of their existence. Yet, beyond that fact, we see in our Lord’s encounter with the Gadarene demonic the pow- er, mercy, and authority of the Son of God, who commands the demon with merely a word. In this text we will see the purpose of Satan to destroy and the power of the Savior to deliver. Whether it is a demonic man (5:1-20), a diseased woman (5:24-34), or a dead little girl (5:21-43), Jesus has the power to save!”

Jesus’ encounter with the demonic occurs after He had calmed the storm and waves of chapter 4 (Mark 4:35- 41). The disciples in awe and amazement of Jesus’ power in doing the miraculous at sea, “said to one anoth- er,’ who can this be, that even the wind and sea obey Him’?”

In chapter 5 of Mark and during the next few weeks of our Life Focus study, Jesus will clearly answer the dis- ciples’ question, “who can this be, that even the wind and sea obey Him?” That all important and vital ques- tion is about to be answered!

Somewhere along your journey of life, you are going to be confronted with and must answer this question for yourself. “Who can this be?” Who is Jesus? This is a very personal question that each and everyone must personally answer.

Question: To you personally, who is Jesus to you?

Mark 5:1-The storm subsided, Jesus and the disciples arrive on “the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.”

The “country of the Gadarenes is located on the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee. In reference to this loca- tion it is also called, “the country of the Gerasenes.” (Luke 8:26).

(v2) After Jesus exits the boat He is met immediately by a man according to Mark and Luke. Matthew states that they were two men that came to meet Jesus (Matthew 8:28).

We in no way should see this as a scriptural contradiction or a violation of Scripture. Matthew simply gives an added detail concerning the presence of a second man, while Mark and Luke focus their attention on the vocal leader and prominent man.

All of the writers: Matthew, Mark, and Luke identify this scene as a meeting of Jesus with the “demon pos- sessed,” “evil spirit.” Frederic Farrar with clarity describes the scene for us, “Barely had Jesus landed when, from among the rocky cavern-tombs there burst into His presence a man troubled with the most exaggerated form of that raging madness which was universally accepted to demonical possession. Amid all the boasted civilization of antiquity, there existed no hospitals, no penitentiaries, no asylums; and unfortunates of this class, being too dangerous and desperate for human interaction could only be driven fourth from among their fellow-men, and restrained from mischief by measures at once inadequate and cruel. Under such circumstanc- es they could, if irreclaimable, only take refuge in those holes along the rocky hillsides which abound in Pales- tine and which were used by the Jews as tombs.

This man’s condition was the result of demon possession. “Daimonizomai” (to be under the control of a de- mon spirit). John MacArthur writes, “It is significant that Jesus never blamed a person for being demon con- trolled. He recognized them as victims of powers beyond their own control and as in need of deliverance not exhortation or condemnation.”

(vv3-5) In these verses we see the agonizing torment the man faced, but not only that, we can see the terrible, cruel, powerful evil, malicious nature of the forces of Satan. Mark’s detail description of this man allows us to be able to identify his torment physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

He is identified as a man “of the tombs.” This man no longer lived among the living but resided among the dead. This man roamed the hillsides of tombs and darkness. Mark’s description of this man is more detailed and graphic than that of Matthew and Luke. With graphic detail Mark emphasizes and describes what the de- mons had done to this man. He was mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually out of control. He had displayed outwardly an extraordinary type physical strength. He was physically able to break the chains and shackles that had been placed upon him. Mark’s language helps us to understand that his hands and feet had been bound with “shackles and chains.” With great strength he had broken the chains and smashed, crushed the shackles in “pieces.” During the daylight hours but especially during the night time hours he could be heard “crying out,” (howling, screaming). The word that Mark uses in his sentence construction emphasizes the repeated action of his “crying out” and his “cutting himself with stones.”

In all of this we see the agitated distraught condition of the man. We understand this deranged state had per- sisted according to Luke 8:27, “for a long time.” This man counted his home among the tombs and darkness of death. Naked he wandered among the graves, screaming and howling, cutting himself with stone. From the darkness of the mountain side his screams echoed.

Question: As this man approached Jesus what was his appearance? Using Mark, Luke and Matthews’ ac- count, describe his probable physical appearance.

Please describe his mental and emotional condition based upon the gospel writers.

Question: What do you think were the thoughts of the disciples as Jesus exited the boat and they saw this man approaching Jesus?

“According to Jewish ceremonial laws, the man whom Jesus encountered was unclean in three ways: He was a Gentile, he was demon possessed, and he lived in the tombs” Life Application Bible Commentary.

This man that had three strikes against him. He was possessed by demonic evil spirits. He was forced to re- side in the shadows of death and darkness. He had no home except for the home of the tombs and graves of death. He was an absolute pitiful wreck. He was out of control! He was hopeless! He could not be “tamed”, “damazo” the word used in taming a wild animal. Probably for most people he was viewed more as an animal than a human.

Before we conclude todays lesson, I want to offer you a closing thought.

The one referred to as the demonic was someone’s son, perhaps someone’s husband or dad. What does that speak to us? Prayerfully answer.