The Demoniac, Part 3—The Demons Must Obey Him | Mark 5:9–13
And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
The level of demonic activity here boggles the mind. It also sets a unique stage for our Lord’s authority to be glorified. Jesus had been casting out individual demons until this point, and now we see His command of an entire horde of them. As such, we see clearly and definitely the control He wields over the spiritual realm.
The demons have no advantage over Him. The demons identify Jesus by name (v. 7, cf. 1:24, 34)—though they presumably never met—and they claim to be a legion in number (6,000 men). Undeterred, Jesus but asks their name, and the unclean spirits are unable to resist Him. Indeed, He didn’t need a name for footing to expel them; He’d cast other demons out without any such inquiry. He only asks so as to demonstrate His authority over even such an amassed army of angelic creatures.
The demons are reduced to begging to Him. The man begged because he recognized Jesus as being in complete control. They feared the pit and knew the Lord could cast them down with but a word (cf. Rv 9:1ff). The best option they contrive is to leave from the man into unreasoning animals—unclean pigs (cf. Lv 11:7–8) for these unclean spirits. But they anxiously await Jesus’s permission to do even that.
Don’t believe dualistic nonsense or fear the power of the devil. Satan is not God’s all-powerful opposite, for his demonic dominion of darkness bows before the will of Jesus Christ. Trust in the all-powerful Lord of Scripture. As stated in the third verse of Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress is Our God:”
And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.