The Demoniac, Part 1—The Man | Mark 5:1–5
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.
Many problems in this world bring us low, and many (if not most) are of our own, sinful making. Sometimes, others are responsible for our current trials (although, not as often or to the degree that we claim). In relatively few instances, though, the blame lies in the demonic realm.
This account follows the storm at sea, which itself came at the end of the Lord’s busy day of teaching in chapter four. They’re just arriving at the eastern shore in Gentile territory. As Jesus gets out of the boat in what should be a quiet area, one of two demonized men (see Mt 8:28), perhaps the more prominent or vocal, came right up to Jesus and kneeled before Him (Mk 5:6).
He didn’t suffer from some psychosis. He performs supernatural feats of strength (v. 4) and demonstrates supernatural knowledge in knowing Jesus’s name (v. 7). Mark doesn’t tell us how he came to be so demonized, but what he says is heartbreaking.
The demonic activity made him an outcast. Though people cared for him (v. 19), he could no longer live in civilized society. On previous occasions, someone tried to bind him even with ankle shackles and chains, to no avail. Though it’s not good for a man to be alone (Gn 2:18), he (and his co-suffering demoniac) lived isolated and naked, completely dehumanized.
The demonic activity made him injure himself. Satan seeks to steal, kill, and destroy (Jn 10:10), on the prowl to devour (1 Pt 5:8–9). His demons likewise seek to slowly or quickly destroy (cf. Mk 9:22). So, in addition to inducing the man to break his fetters, causing whatever resultant injuries, the unclean spirits would force him to pick up rock shards and mutilate his flesh.
The demonic activity made him come to the presence of the compassionate Lord. Jesus, exhausted as He is, speaks to the man and delivers him. No matter how far gone you are, even if Satan has a strong hold on you, the Lord Jesus Christ saves. Seek Him in believing prayer and find true deliverance today.