The Demon Possessed Man of Mark 5
I have never read of such misery as this account. Possessed by hundreds of demons this man cannot sleep, he cannot rest, he’s vile, he’s violent and all through the day and all through the night he howls and screams in agony. He can’t control himself and the people cannot control him. He’s without hope. But Jesus, on a divine mission, arrives to provide hope. Later this man could say, the demons forcing me to come to Jesus was the best thing that ever happened to me. Jesus, with authority and power, casts out the demons. Granting the wish of the demons, they enter into a herd of swine. If the owner was a Jew, perhaps the Lord was chastening him. No Jew should be in the pig business. Pigs were unclean animals.
Word got out quick. The crazy and violent man is a different man now. He’s calm. His fierceness is gone. He’s clothed. His reason has returned. He’s sitting at Jesus’ feet. He is a new creature. Old things passed away; behold new things have come. This man is finally experiencing peace and rest. The roads are safe now for travel. He no longer is a threat. One would think the people would be thrilled. Instead they fear Jesus. A large swine business has been ruined and they fear Jesus might ruin more businesses. The bottom line – pigs were more important than Jesus. Their economy was the priority. They literally begged Him to leave. They wanted to be left alone. Alone without Jesus? Nothing could be worse. But Jesus granted them their wish. One word and Jesus goes back to the boat. He will oblige. Oh unbelieving friend, do not send Him away. He may grant you your wish. And He may never offer salvation again.
The man who had been demon possessed wanted nothing more than to be with Jesus. He had come to treasure Christ above all else. He was filled with admiration and he longed to know His Savior better. Perhaps he feared the demons might return and possess him again. But that would not be the case. Jesus told him to go home to share what the Lord has permanently and completely accomplished. That would remove the possibility and the fear of demon possession. What a joy to observe his obedience. And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed (Mark 5:20). The undeniable proof of his salvation was a changed life. The man discovered that for a season serving Christ would be better than being with Christ. He learned, as did the Apostle Paul, I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake (Philippians 1:23-24).