This article is based on the Bible passage, Mark 5:1-20
As we can see on television and hear about in the media, there are people all over the world suffering from addictions of many different kinds. A great number of people suffer from drug addiction, while others may suffer from sex-related addictions. Some people become addicted to strange things like eating non-edible things and doing things that most of us would never even imagine doing. What is common with all addictions is that they all gradually destroy a person’s mind, body, and life. Addictions can damage a person’s health, cause mental disorders, and also ruin a person’s life by costing them their job, financial security, relationships, credibility, and reputation. Addictions take over a person’s life and steal their peace of mind and happiness. We often hear addictions referred to as “demons.” You may hear an addict describe himself/herself as saying, “I am dealing with some demons in my life,” or “I am trying to get rid of my demons.”
What if your life or the life of someone you know is being ruined by demons, or addictions? Well, there is hope. No matter how severe the problem, there is hope for healing and recovery in your life. In the Bible, we can read about a man who was so overcome with demons that he was totally out of control and could not even be restrained with chains. He was probably the terror of the town. Everyone was afraid of him because there was no telling what he might do next. Can you imagine living a life where no one wanted to be around you? This poor man was in such a dire condition that he resorted to living in the graveyard, where he often cried and cut himself with stones because he was in such despair. Maybe you or someone you know can relate to this man in the Bible. If so, keep reading because this Bible account offers you hope.
1. Jesus knows when you need help and will come to help you.
When you first begin reading this passage, you can see that Jesus has just sailed across the Sea of Galilee through a terrible storm to arrive here in this region called the Gadarenes. In many cities and towns that Jesus visited, many people would rush to see Him and to be healed by Him, but in this area, we see no one coming to see Him or asking to be healed by Him. Except one person. The only person who came to Jesus this day was the man possessed with many demons, the one whom the whole town talked about, the boogey man, the man that no one trusted, the man who cried day and night, cutting himself with stones because he lived in total despair, longing for relief.
Out of a whole entire region, there was only one person who felt they needed Jesus, and Jesus came to that one person. The previous day, Jesus had spent the whole day teaching and healing people. Then, that night, He and His disciples had sailed across the sea through a violent storm. Why was it so important for Jesus to go through all this to get to the Gadarene region? Because one person needed Him. Jesus knows those who need His help.
“For He will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper.” (Psalm 72:12)
Jesus knows if you need Him, and He will come to you. Jesus once cried and sweat tears in a garden as He prayed to God. He was severely beaten. He was spit upon, mocked and abused. He was nailed on a cross and left to die. (Luke, chapters 22-23) He willingly went through all of this so that when you needed Him, He would have the power to come and help you. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
2. Even if you are out of control and beyond helping, Jesus can help you.
In verses 3 and 4, we see that this man was so out of control, that no one could help him. He had been chained and shackled, but still, he was so overcome with demons, that no one or nothing could control him.
Maybe you or someone you know is out of control. Maybe people have tried to help you, but to no use. Maybe you feel that your situation is so bad that you are beyond help. If you feel this way, you can find assurance from this Bible passage that you can indeed be helped. No matter how bad your situation is, it is most likely no worse than the situation of this man in this Bible passage. If he can be helped, so can you.
“Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14)
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear.” (Isaiah 59:1)
“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)
“For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
3. Even if you are in total despair, Jesus can help you.
Verse 5 shows us that the man lived day and night in the tombs and mountains, crying and cutting himself with stones. He was in utter despair. Maybe he felt so despondent that he just wanted to die. His crying and cutting were physical measures taken to find relief from his mental and emotional pain. There are people today who practice cutting themselves because they seek relief from their mental and emotional distress. Maybe you or someone you know is like this. Keep reading because there is hope in this message.
4. Meet Jesus half way
We said earlier that Jesus comes to you when you need Him, but as we see here, when the man saw Jesus from “afar,” he ran and worshiped Him. This man was so desperate for help that when he saw Jesus from a far distance, he somehow knew that this Man could help him, and he got up and ran to Jesus! He didn’t hesitate and think it over. He just got up and ran to Jesus!
Jesus wants to help you too, but you have to be willing to get up and meet Him when He comes to you.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Revelation 3:20-21)
Jesus Himself may not come to you in flesh and blood like He did here in this passage, but if you acknowledge that you need Him and ask for His help, He will bring people into your life who can assist you. These people might be former addicts. They might be family, friends, or church members. They might be certified counselors. Whatever form they come in, they will be the help that Jesus is providing for you.
5. No matter how powerful your demons, they are all powerless before Jesus.
In verses 7-13, when the man came to Jesus, suddenly the demons inside him recognized Jesus as the Son of God. They knew immediately that they had no power against Him. When He commanded for them to leave the man’s body, the demons begged Jesus to not send them out of the country. They had to have permission from Jesus to be allowed to enter into the herd of swine, which eventually ran over the cliff and drowned.
No matter how great the power that your demons seem to hold over you, they are weak against Jesus. No matter how incapable your demons render you of helping yourself, Jesus can deliver you from them.
Whats more, no matter how many demons you think you have, Jesus can overcome every one of them at once. In verse 9, the demons collectively call themselves by the name, Legion, because they are many.
I looked up the word “legion,” and discovered that it is from a Latin word that once represented a unit of a Roman army composing anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 soldiers. In our language today, the word can mean a large army or military force.
It is mind-blowing to comprehend how this one man was possessed by thousands of demons, but evidently he was because verse 13 says there were about 2,000 swine, in which the demons had entered into after being cast out of the man.
This information is good news because it lets you know that no matter how many demons you think you have, or how powerful a hold they have on you, they are powerless in the face of Jesus. If you are just willing to meet Jesus half way, He can and will cast out your demons. He will also drown them (or suppress them) so that they can not come back to you.
6. No matter what your demons, Jesus has a plan and a purpose for you.
After Jesus healed him, the man asked Jesus if he could go with Him and be with Him, but Jesus did not allow the man to do this because He had a plan and purpose for him. Jesus told the man to go home and tell all his family and friends what the Lord has done for him.
You see, this man previously had a huge reputation around these parts. Everyone knew of him. He was the town freak, the town terror, the town thug. People around this town probably taught their children to beware of this man, to be afraid of him like the boogey man. People probably ridiculed him, made jokes about him, taunted him, and judged him, saying, “oh, he must have done something terrible for God to curse him like this.”
However, evidently, these folks in this region really didn’t care too much about Jesus. In many other cities and towns, people came in multitudes to see and be healed by Jesus. But, not in this place. Here, no one asked for His help. Not only that, but when these people saw how Jesus cast out the demons and sent them into the swine, killing the pigs, these people actually asked Jesus to leave. Some of them may have been angry that Jesus was damaging their farming industry. Others were afraid of Him. But, none of them felt they needed Him.
So, this is the job that Jesus has for this man, to go home and tell his family and friends what God has done for him, and that He has had compassion on him. Jesus wants this man to be a living example, to show these people that if He could heal this man who had once appeared beyond helping, then surely He could help them with their problems.
Jesus has a plan and purpose for you too. Just like this man, Jesus wants you to tell others how He has helped you, and that He can help them too. You may have a reputation around town. Maybe everyone knows about your demons, the trouble you have been into, the things you have done. But, when they see you in your right mind, when they see you with your head on straight and overcoming your demons, guess what? It gives them hope that if YOU can get better, surely they can too. This is the work Jesus has for you.
When Jesus gave this man this work to do, he took it seriously. He didn’t forget about Jesus the moment He left. If the man had refused to do the work Jesus gave him, he would have been opening his mind and spirit up to his old demons. But, because he did as Jesus told him, and because he went about telling others what Jesus had done for him, this work helped to keep him safe from returning to his old life. When you busy yourself with serving Jesus, it will protect and strengthen you from your old demons as well.
And, when the man began to tell others what Jesus had done for them, they marveled. (vs. 20) The Bible doesn’t say, but I just wonder how many people eventually came to Jesus later because they saw and learned what Jesus had done for this man?
How many people can you help by telling them about what Jesus has done for you? How many broken lives can your story help mend? How many people are out there suffering from the same demons as you? How many of them can be helped just by hearing your story and seeing the difference God has made in your life?
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)