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(A discussion between five friends about an incident recorded in the Bible i.e in the Gospel of Mark chapter 5 verses 1 to 20) Roshan : Welcome to all for this discussion on Mark 5:1-20 All : Hi Roshan : If you have your Bible please turn the pages to the portion where Mark 5:1-20 is or else you can read from this printout. Rohit will read it aloud for us. Others please listen & follow carefully. Rohit : The story of the man who was set free from a Legion of Demons. Mark Chapter 5 Verses 1 to 20(NKJV) 1.Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him,not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” 8 For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” 9 Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.
11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” 13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. 14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demonpossessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region. 18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. Roshan : Before we continue, let us just say a small prayer. “ Our Loving Heavenly Father, we pray that you would open our eyes to see the wonders in your word. Please speak to us. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen” I think all of you would have understood the story that we read. Please spend a few minutes reading silently. Rohit : This story is also recorded in two other gospels i.e in Mathew 8:28-34 and in Luke 8 : 26-39. There seems to be a contradiction between the account in Mathew and in the other two gospels. In Mathew there are two demon-possessed men while in Mark and Luke there is only one man.
Roshan : I don’t think there is any conflict between the gospels, for Mark and Luke accounts have apparently focused their attention on the most striking of the two demon-possessed men. Pooja : I don’t believe demons or evil spirits exist. In those days psychology was not developed hence they may have called mental illness as Demon Possession. Rahim : I think demons do exist, the presence of those who practice witchcraft shows that there are good spirits and evil spirits. Preeti : As long as scientists keep searching for aliens & extraterrestrial beings it means that they have not ruled out the existence of other forms of life. Spirit beings are also living beings. Pooja : I think it is the horror movies & the movies like “The Exorcist”, which keep our beliefs about demons alive. I think the belief in demons is only a superstition. Preeti : Just because we cannot prove the existence of demons with the level of technological advancement that we have today, it does not mean that they do not exist. Maybe in future some equipment may be invented for detecting/identifying the spirit beings. Rohit : I believe angels & demons exist because Bible says so. Bible is the Word of God. It is fully accurate and reliable. Roshan : My Dad also used to believe that demons do not exist. He used to look down on people with the opposite belief and tell them that their belief is superstitious. But one day he had a direct encounter with a demon. Rahim : I bet his belief would have changed after that. Roshan : Yes. He used to tell that a dark figure would try to strangle him at nights when he was sleeping alone in his room. But after he committed his life to Jesus & prayed that he be delivered, he found freedom and new life.
Rohit : Jesus is alive even today what he did when he was on earth two thousand years ago, he is still doing today. Roshan : Let us come back to the passage that we read a short while ago. Jesus and his disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee and went eastward to the region of Gerasenes. Can you locate this on the map shown here
Rohit : The Gadara or Gerasa & Decapolis (verse20) are in another country. Roshan : Yes. Immediately after reaching the shore, Jesus met a man. What do we know about him from verse2 to v5
Rahim : He was living in the tombs outside the city. Why didn’t he live in a house? Didn’t he have family members to take care of him? Rohit : I think the demons inside him were driving him outside the house into the tombs and forcing him to do things that only a mad man would do. Pooja : He seemed to possess super human strength. If he was bound by chains he would pull it apart. The shackles were broken to pieces. He could not be tamed by anyone. Preeti : He was crying out day & night and was injuring himself with stones. If this man was living today he could have been controlled by a psychologist by using a suitable sedative. Roshan : He was a maniac. He was probably considered a nuisance to the society. He was helpless and his condition was pathetic. He could break physical chains & shackles but he was bound by unseen demonic forces. There was nobody to help him Rohit : The demons inside the man were totally controlling him. It appears that he doesn’t have a personality of his own. Roshan : What did Jesus say to the maniac. Rahim : He said “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”. Rohit : He is actually speaking to the man but he addressing the spirits controlling the man. The man who was uncontrollable ran & worshipped Jesus. Roshan : What did the maniac tell Jesus? Preeti : What have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the most High God? I implore you by God that you do not torment me. Rohit : Are the demons telling the truth about Jesus?.
Rahim : I think that the demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God. But you had told that God is the Father & we are his children. If Jesus is also God’s son then he should be our elder brother and he cannot be God. It could also mean there is one most High God and other smaller Gods isn’t Roshan : You are right partially but let me tell you that Jesus is indeed divine and we are human. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. Since he became man and underwent all the pains, trials that we go through it is right to tall him elder brother. The Bible says that there is only one God but he is triune namely Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Preeti : Why is the man telling Jesus not torment him? Rohit : I think the demons are afraid of Jesus Roshan : It is ironic that the demons which are tormenting the man are requesting Jesus not to torment. The demons are posing as if the man is talking. That is why Jesus asks, “What is your name?’ Pooja : The man answered “My name is Legion; for we are many”. What is Legion? Rohit : I have read that Legion is the word used for a Roman army troop having upto 6000 soldiers. Roshan : The demons beg earnestly that Jesus would not send them out of the country, in the parallel account of this incident in Luke’s Gospel it says that they begged him that he would not send them to abyss Pooja : What is abyss?. Preeti : I think abyss means Hell. Roshan : Absolutely. Bible says that Hell is a place that God has created for the punishment of Demons. Just like we have prisons for the criminals in this world, God has designed Hell for the Devil and the demons with him. But the saddest part is man can also go to Hell. Rahim : How does a man go to Hell?
Roshan : Let me tell you a Biblical Truth. The Bible says that all men are sinners and are therefore separated from God. Because of the sinful nature in man we are with the devil and are therefore destined for Hell since birth but the good news is Jesus, the Messiah has provided a way of escape from Hell. He did this by offering himself as a sacrifice on the cross for our sins. Rohit : But the escape from Hell is not automatic. We need to repent of all our sins, ask him to forgive us and transform our lives. Preeti : What you say is difficult to for me to agree Roshan : Let us continue discussing the passage Rohit : Jesus agrees to the request of the demons. But nobody could have seen the movement of the demons from the man to the pigs isn’t it? Rahim : Yes, the effects are there for all to see. But legally no one can prove that Jesus was responsible for the destruction of demons. Preeti : The number of pigs is about 2000, if we assume one person is responsible for herding 100 pigs then there should have been 20 persons who were taking care of the pigs. It appears these people didn’t do anything to prevent the pigs from drowning into the sea. Rohit : The demons would have caused the pigs to move violently. Remember when these demons where in the man he was uncontrollable. If you do a simple math then 3 demons should have entered each pig. Man is able to live albeit miserably with 6000 demons inside while pigs are not able to live with only 3 demons. Roshan : What are the changes you can immediately see in the demon possessed man? Rahim : He was mad earlier, now he is of sound mind. He was naked now he is clothed. He was crying out aloud and hurting himself now he is calm. The changes are dramatic
Preeti : The news of the change in the man must have spread like wild fire. If there were newspapers or TV in those days then there would have been a good coverage for this incident. People who heard of the news must have come to witness a miracle. I thought they must have been happy to see the maniac tamed and in his right mind but they are afraid. I don’t know why? Rohit : They must have sensed that something mysterious has happened. It was a big financial loss for those who were doing the business of rearing pigs. They would have probably felt that if Jesus is there with them for some more time they would have to face more loss. His presence was like a bad omen for them. Pooja : Jesus should have driven the demons into the abyss instead of into the pigs. Then the loss could have been averted. What happened to the demons after the pigs died? Roshan : I do not know why Jesus did what he did. But I have heard someone tell me that the owners of the pigs must have been Jews. As per Jewish law pigs were unclean animals & they were not supposed to rear pigs. Hence Jesus allowed the pigs to be destroyed. But I do not know how far this is true. As far as the next question is concerned I think the demons would have roamed that area looking for somebody to possess. Preeti : In India even today many people particularly in tribal villages are killed on the suspicion that he or she is a witch. These people take law into their own hands. Rahim : Yes. Nowadays many business men & politicians are approaching those who practice witchcraft and black magic to settle scores with their rivals. Roshan : The Bible clearly forbids practicing of witch craft, black magic & other occult practices. Though those who approach them seem to be gaining in the short term the evil spirits will soon be back to haunt them. Pooja : Do you think there is Demon Possession today?
Roshan : Yes definitely. Maybe the type of possession that the maniac had was extreme and quite rare. Most of us may not be Demon Possessed but the probability of being oppressed by Demons is quite high. We need to avoid extremes, as far as our views on Demons are concerned. I have read a quote by C.S Lewis in this matter Rohit : The quote is “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight” Roshan : Demons are like virus. You don’t keep looking around for viruses to avoid. You just maintain a healthy life style then the immune system in your body will take care of it. If you are infected you just go to a doctor who prescribes a suitable antibiotic for healing. Reading the Bible & praying to God are the healthy life styles for a good spiritual life. Rohit : I can’t understand why Jesus who agreed to the request of the demons & the request of the people of the country did not agree to the request of the man who was freed from the Legion of demons Roshan : Jesus gave him a better assignment. It would be more effective if he told what happened to him to those who knew his former way of life. The man obeyed Jesus and did what was expected of him. His obedience was an expression of gratefulness for the love & compassion that Jesus showed on him. If Jesus visited the region again there would have been many people to welcome him as a result of what the man did there. Tell me what have you learnt from this passage? Rohit : I don’t need to be afraid of Jesus. Even a single person is valuable to Jesus. He went across the sea to another country for the sake of helping one person. I commit myself to obey Jesus. I know that Jesus has given me authority over the demons and I am excited about it. Roshan : We should rejoice that our names are written in heaven rather the fact we have authority over demons. We should not be hasty in helping those who are oppressed my demons. The ministry of deliverance should be done with much prayer and as a team. First of all
we need to learn more about spiritual discernment from those who are already experienced. Pooja : Though I am not fully convinced about the existence of demons, I appreciate the fact that love was the motive for the healing of the mad man. I think we should not be so money minded; we should be ready to lose some money for a good cause. Rahim : I think we should not be like the workers herding the pigs. We should be responsible & put full effort in whatever we do. We are quick to blame others when something goes wrong instead of looking inside ourselves. Preeti : I learnt a lot about demons. I think giving hope to a hopeless man and help to a helpless man is the greatest service we can do. Roshan : We all want to be independent. But more than that we need to be set free from Demonic oppressions, addictions etc. You can trust Jesus to set you free. Rahim : When I think of our country, we seem to have a Legion of problems. Many times the leaders of our country have no clue about tackling the problems facing our nation. Roshan : We need to pray for our nation. May He give wisdom to our leaders. May God rise up many people without the love of money as leaders of our nation. May there be more leaders in our country with a heart of compassion for the needy & suffering. May God deliver India from the Legion of problems that we are facing today. May I request Rohit to pray for all of us. Rohit : “Loving Heavenly Father, I pray that you would set us free from everything that enslaves us and from all oppression of the Devil. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen” Roshan : May all of us experience God’s love reaching out to free us. Bye to all. See you soon.
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