Jesus: Stronger Than Every Evil

by Mar 13, 2018

It’s crazy, mysterious, and unbelievable! Mark 5:1-20 is one of the wildest stories in the Bible. A ridiculously strong, self-abusive, naked, homeless man runs up to Jesus, worships him, and then Jesus kicks out thousands of demons that are tormenting him. The demons go into a herd of pigs, and all the pigs run off of a cliff and die. What the heck? I mean, read it for yourself! What an incredible story! A story with so much mystery; so many unanswered questions. Why would Jesus have done it this way? What did he want his disciples to learn from this event? What does he want us to know and learn today?

Jesus wanted his disciples to see, experience, and be convinced of the fact that there IS an enemy in our story, in this world, who really wants to harm us. This legion of demons, acting on the orders of their master, Satan, had a goal to destroy this man. Why? What would they get out of destroying one man?

It all goes back to creation. Look at Genesis 1: “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness […] So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.” That man is an image of God. Each of us images God. We represent him in this earth. And God has an enemy who hates and wants to destroy God any way that they can.

They want to choke out truth and spread lies because God is truth.
They want to choke out love and spread hate because God is love.
They want to choke out the church and spread isolation because the church is God’s plan for right now.
They want to choke out a relationship with God and spread religion.

They want to destroy every image of God. This guy in the tombs barely even looked like a man. He was socially isolated, not in community, he was stronger than other people so he was physically different, and he was self-destructive, cutting himself and destroying his own body. And even when the demons realized that they’d be cast out of the man, they wanted to destroy something else. The enemy in our story is obsessed with destruction.

He’s also obsessed with distraction. He’d love to distract us from giving our lives to God. Because the crowd that begged Jesus to leave, they were distracted by some of the details of what had happened, to the point there they rejected Jesus. They’d seen a broken man healed, but they were too distracted by a herd of pigs to welcome Jesus into their city.

Jesus wants his disciples to recognize that we have an enemy with a goal, and live in light of it. It’s why, when the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray, one of the things he says to pray is that God would “deliver us from evil” or “The evil one.” Every disciple of Jesus should be praying this prayer. Because we really have an enemy, who’s sowing brokenness in this world, and he’s effecting us more than we realize.

I mean, this legion-possessed dude had some issues. He’s abusive, naked, cutting himself, screaming, smelly, living in a graveyard. This guy is about as broken as we can imagine anyone getting. Well…almost anyone. You see, many believe that the reason this guy ran up to Jesus wasn’t because the legion of demons wanted him to, but because the man himself saw hope to be delivered. The legion of demons would have wanted to sprint away from Jesus. But the man had to of realized by now that there was nothing that he himself could do to get rid of these demons. He must have realized by now that there was nothing anyone in the towns could do to get rid of these demons. And so when he saw Jesus getting off of that boat, he saw hope that a deliverer had come.

But the other people in the town didn’t see Jesus the same way. It might be because they didn’t see their own brokenness. One suggestion for why they wanted Jesus to leave was because a lot of them were pig farmers. And even though Jesus saved a man’s life, they thought if he stuck around he might ruin their income. He might mess with their lives. Sure, he might heal them of all their sicknesses and sins, but mess with our money. Nope. Get out of here.

Don’t mess with our income.
Don’t mess with our security.
Don’t mess with our lives.

They didn’t realize that they had their own brokenness that needed to be healed.

Now, no one here today is demonized with a legion of demons. Everyone has their clothes on in here. But we all need to be delivered from our brokenness.

We need delivered from having hard hearts and not responding to God’s Word.
…delivered from loving ourselves more than we love other people.
…delivered from the angry thoughts we have at spouse, kids…or worse, the ways we act on those angry thoughts.
…delivered from bitterness at our parents
…delivered from fear of others that leads us to isolate ourselves
…delivered from addictions to comfort and fun and money and pornography
…delivered from not having any joy in life
…delivered from worshipping the creation instead of our creator.

We all have brokenness that we can’t cure ourselves. What have you been trying to cure yourself? What brokenness? What sin struggle? What shame have you been trying to deal with your own way?

This story we see that no matter how addicted you are, how filled with shame you are, how much in bondage you feel, how much you’ve tried to cure yourself, the good news is point number three:

We see that Jesus has complete power and authority over the enemy in this story, and he wants to deliver each of us.

He wants to deliver us from believing that we’re better off without God.
He wants to deliver us from believing that we’ll have more joy in life if we stay away from God. He wants to deliver us from thinking that we’re wasting our lives by following God.
He wants to deliver us from every struggle and weight and burden.

And He can.

One mightier than Satan is here. One mightier than a legion of demons is here. One mightier than our sin is here. The deliverer has come, and his name is Jesus! He defeats an enemy that we couldn’t even fight.

God promised to deliver us from the enemy way back in the garden of Eden after we followed the enemy and rebelled against God. He told Satan, who appeared as a snake in the garden, that a man would come and crush Satan’s head. What no one realized was how God was going to do it. God was going to become a man. And God was going to crush Satan’s destruction in this earth not by brute force but by dying as a man. God would become man and be put to death. And at that death he would take all of the punishment that God’s people deserve for following Satan and he himself, God himself would be punished for our rebellion. So that there’s no more punishment for us.

Satan can’t accuse us! He can’t condemn us! We are totally free. What amazing plan to defeat the enemy! God’s already won the battle over Satan. He won it on the cross.

But Satan’s influence is still lingering on for a while. He’s defeated, but he’s still doing harm. When Luke wrote about this event he records that the legion of demons said that they didn’t want Jesus to throw them into the abyss. These demons knew that one day Jesus will completely destroy them forever, and they’ll have no more influence in God’s creation. They’ll end up away from God’s presence forever. And they’d love to drag anyone else with them that they can.

And did you notice what happens when the man was delivered? His life changes. He stops doing those things that he was doing before. He looks different. He acts differently. He’s in his right mind and he’s thankful and he really, really wants to follow Jesus.

See Jesus didn’t just deliver us from Satan’s grip on us once we die. He wants to deliver us from Satan’s influence right now in our lives. And Jesus will deliver us from Satan forever when he comes again, when we’ll be with him.

You can run to Jesus with your brokenness today. He can deliver you, and he will deliver you from it.

This man who was delivered from bondage wanted to be with Jesus right away. But Jesus had another plan for him. Jesus wanted this man to follow him was by spreading the good news of what Jesus had done for him. Because there were obviously many people in this man’s town, in his community, who didn’t want Jesus there. Jesus was teaching his disciples that we are delivered in order to deliver others.

We have a message of good news that can bring deliverance to people’s lives who are lost, broken, hopeless, living life with no purpose or joy.

We see this message all over the Bible. Colossians 1: “[God] has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” And then later in the letter, “[God] disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in [Jesus].” Jesus defeated our enemy for us; an enemy we couldn’t defeat. That’s the message of the Bible. And Jesus wants that deliverance to flow through us to others.

Easter’s coming up guys, and it’s a great time to invite people to hear this message of deliverance. Right now, think of and write down two names, the first two names that God brings to your mind, that you could tell about God’s goodness in your life and invite them to celebrate on Easter with us. If it’s true that Jesus changed your life, the most loving thing you could do for them is introduce them to Jesus.

Each one of us is going to respond to Jesus either like this man in the tombs, or like the townspeople. You’re either going to recognize that you’re broken, you can’t heal yourself, and run to Jesus, be healed, and have your whole life changed.

Or, you’re going to hear about Jesus and what he’s doing and want nothing to do with it. You may keep coming to church or even reading your Bible, but deep in your heart you’re telling Jesus, “Don’t you dare mess with my life.”

How are you responding to Jesus right now?