Mark 5:1-20 Bringing the Gospel to the Gadarenes 11/17/2002


  • God Is No Respecter of Persons (Mark 5:1, 1 Peter 1:17)



#1. Who Was This Naked Man (Mark 5:1-6, Luke 8:27)



  • A Dead Man Who Dwelt Among the Dead (Psalm 58:3, Mark 5:5)



  • He Ran and Worshipped Him (Mark 5:6-8, Matt 8:29)




#2. My Name Is Legion (Mark 5:9-10, Luke 11:24-26)



  • Do Not Send Us Away (Mark 5:10-12, I Pet 2:8)



  • Send Us Into the Swine (Mark 5:12-13, Mark 4:19)




#3. They Pleaded Him to Depart (Mark 5:14-17, Luke 8:37)



  • Look at the Contrasts (Mark 5:17-18, II Cor 13:5)



  • Great Things the Lord Hath Done for Thee (Mark 5:18-20)



Please open your Bibles to the Gospel according to Mark, chapter 5:1 (2X). Here in the first 20 verses of Mark's Gospel, chapter 5, we have the story of Jesus bringing the Gospel to the Gadarenes. Who were the Gadarenes? The Gadarenes were citizens of Gadara, which was one of 10 cities established by Greeks after Alexander the Great had conquered this area 360 years earlier. These 10 cities pooled their resources together into a Roman province that is called Decapolis. Deca means 10 and Polis means city. Decapolis was located East of the Sea of Galilee in an area that formerly was assigned to half the tribe of Manasseh. We read about Decapolis in verse 20 of this story in Mark chapter 5. How did Jesus and His disciples end up in this country of the Gadarenes? Well, Jesus directed them there. Jesus' plan was to bring the Gospel to the Gadarenes.

Perhaps you remember that the text of the sermon 2 weeks ago was from Luke 8 and the sermon was about letting your light shine. Then Jesus said, "Let us go over unto the other side of the lake". And after a stormy passage over the lake they landed on the coast of the country of the Gadarenes. Then in the present passage the Lord Jesus demonstrated how His disciples should let their light shine. The title of this sermon is "Bringing the Gospel to the Gadarenes". The narrative in the Gospel of Mark is more complete. That is why we are in Mark today, but the scenario is totally parallel to the Gospel according to Luke. We read here in Mark 5:1,

Mark 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

Did they land there by accident? No! The Lord Jesus had a definite purpose for landing there at that particular location. And in this event we can see that:

  • God Is No Respecter of Persons (Mark 5:1, 1 Peter 1:17)

What does it mean when we read in the Bible that God is no respecter of persons? We read that at least 17 times in the Bible. Does it mean that God does not have a chosen people, since that would make God a respecter of persons? No! That cannot be the correct interpretation, because that would contradict many other portions in the Bible. God wrote the Bible, and God cannot lie. But God gave us many examples from which we can learn what it means when God says of Himself that He is not a respecter of persons. It has to do with judgment. Let me read to you from I Pet 1:17,

1 Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

It means that God will judge every man's work, regardless whether it is a nobleman, a pauper, a Greek, or a Jew, God will give each one a fair judgment. There are also those whom God has chosen to be saved from Hell. They are called the elect of God, and God chose His elect from all the nations and tribes and peoples and tongues that are on the face of the earth. God will not respect that person because he is from the nation of the Jews, or from the Greeks, or from the barbarians. In that sense also God is not a respecter of persons. Each one of God's elect has already been judged fairly in Christ. All their sins have been paid with the full price that was due to each sin. God the Son paid that price in full when He hung on the cross. This is how God judges mankind. Jesus did not forget the heathen out there. He considered also the Gadarenes as worth saving. That is why Jesus went there to save this crazy man from Gadara, and then Jesus sent this man out to evangelize his own country.

#1. But Who Was This Naked Man? (Mark 5:1-6, Luke 8:27) We read in Mark chapter 5:1,

Mark 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

Mark 5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

Mark 5:3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs(2X) and no man could bind him, no, not with chains

Mark 5:4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

Mark 5:5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

Mark 5:6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,

This was a fearful sight. This man was demon possessed, and he had a superhuman strength because he could not be bound, or chained by other human beings. But why did I say that this man was naked? Well, we find that additional information in the Gospel of Luke, where God says in V 27,

Luke 8:27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city (2X) a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs (2X).

Yes, he came out of the tombs, but the tombs were considered part of the city. So this man was a citizen of that city. He came out of the city, but he came also out of the tombs of that city. Secondly, he did not wear any clothes, and he was possessed by devils already for a long time. This was a dangerous man. These days this man would have been locked up in an asylum for insane persons. They tried to lock him up, but he was stronger than them all. Shackles or chains could not hold him.

But when Jesus landed at the coast of the country of the Gadarenes, this man spotted Jesus from a great distance. And immediately he ran to Jesus and worshipped Him. Scary! He was a violent man. Why did he do that? It was because Jesus said to the demon that possessed him "Come out of the man!" The Lord Jesus said this to him when He was still a great distance away. Jesus saw the naked man before he saw Jesus. Even the Devil who inhabited this Gadarene demoniac was forced to tremble before Christ and bow to Him. Why was this man the first person of the country of the Gadarenes to meet Jesus? It was because this man was a representative of the city of Gadara. This was the typical description of an unsaved Gadarene. He lived among the tombs because he was:

  • A Dead Man Who Dwelt Among the Dead (Psalm 58:3, Mark 5:5,)

This crazy man was spiritually dead, but everyone else in this city was also spiritually dead. This man was openly possessed by the Devil, but everyone else in the city of Gadara was secretly in the hold of the Devil. We know this because the Bible tells us so. God says in Psalm 58:3,

Psalm 58:3, The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

In other words, babies are not innocent creatures. These wicked babies are sinning as soon as they are born. Who are these wicked babies? Who does God refer to in this Psalm 58? This Psalm refers to all mankind. God says in Eph 2:3, "We all were by nature the children of wrath", which means that "we all" were once under the wrath of God because of our sins. Now we can see why God wrote this story of the Gadarene demoniac in such a way as if this man was coming out of the tombs, which seemed to belong to the city. Not only was this "a dead man who dwelt among the dead", but also this man represents each one of us who have been saved. We too were once dead in trespasses and sins, and we too once lived among the walking dead. This Gadarene demoniac was definitely an unsaved man, because he was indwelt by demons. At the end of the story this man worships Christ, which means that he became saved. The Lord Jesus not only made him physically well, but Christ also saved his soul. Therefore, this man was a picture of how anyone might come to salvation. This man did not seek Christ. He did not plead to Jesus for salvation. He was an enemy of every peace loving human being, and he was an enemy of God. But the Father chose to save him and to draw him to Jesus. Therefore the Lord Jesus called him and He saved him. The man was not asked to come; he was commanded to come, and he came. Human efforts could not tame this man, only Christ can. Human hands could not bind this man, because human hands cannot bind Satan. Today we hear much about exorcists trying to cast out demons from other people. These are activities that are practiced in charismatic churches. But men should not try to cast Satan out of another man. That is a work reserved for the Son of God. This man was naked, because in our unsaved state we stand naked before God, with all our sins exposed. When Christ saves us then Christ clothes us with the robe of His righteousness. We also read in Mark 5:5,

Mark 5:5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

Why did he do that? You might say: "He was crazy. The demons drove him crazy". That is true, but God had a more important reason for writing this in the Bible. If this Gadarene demoniac was a representation of each one of us before we were saved, then we can see why God painted the picture of this man crying night and day and cutting himself with stones. For example, before I was saved I was in my own kingdom, and those were my mountains. I was a self-made man. But I was not happy. My job held me as tight as if it was my tomb. My job was my taskmaster. It was a taskmaster that I had created for myself, and it was a very cruel taskmaster. Nothing was allowed to stand in my way. I was on my way to become a famous scientist. And in the process I had left my wife and children in the dust. The stones I was cutting myself with were the stones of the 10 commandments. As you know, the 10 commandments were carved in stone. I knew those commandments by heart, but I did not know them as I know them now. Before I was saved those commandments always accused me of being in rebellion against the Law of God. Those stones were cutting me. But then I read in Mark 5:6,

  • He Ran and Worshipped Him (Mark 5:6-8, Matt 8:29).

Mark 5:6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,

Before I was saved did I see Jesus? No! I saw only myself, and all my focus was on myself. Only after evangelists came to my house did I see Jesus in the Scriptures, and then I ran to worship Him.

Look here at these words! If Jesus were just a man, if he was a good man in the eyes of God, then Jesus would not allow this demoniac to worship Him, because that would be equivalent to blasphemy. We are not allowed to worship any other than God alone. But Jesus did not object. Jesus allowed this man to worship Him. That should tell us clearly who Jesus is. Then we read in V. 7 - 8,

Mark 5:7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

Mark 5:8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

This Gadarene demoniac ran to Jesus. Why? It was because Jesus had already commanded the demons to leave this man before the man saw Jesus. This man was one of God's Elect. No demon is strong enough to hold him back from salvation by Jesus Christ. And the demons were saying, "What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God". Again, Jesus did not object to this title, "Son of the Most High God". Is Jesus the Son of God? Most people who go to a church would agree with us if we say, "Jesus is the Son of God". This is not an offense of the Gospel. Even Jehovah's Witnesses will agree with us on this point, because the Bible says it clearly many times over. But the Bible also says that the true Gospel is an offense to the natural man. Christ is called a "Rock of Offence", and the Bible speaks of "the Offence of the Cross". Where is the offense? If we tell people that Jesus Christ is God, and if we tell them that Jesus Christ is coming again as the Judge of all the earth, and He will condemn most people to an eternity in Hell, that is offensive to most people.

Do the demons know that they are going to Hell? Absolutely yes! The demons were saying, "We adjure Thee by God, that Thou torment us not before the time". We get that additional piece of information out of the Gospel according to Matthew. Let me just read to you from Matt 8:29,

Matthew 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

The demons know that they are going to be the losers, and that they have to go to a place of torment. Demons believe in Hell. It is only humans who do not believe in Hell. Today many churches teach their congregations that there is no Hell. Wishful thinking. There are at least 100 references to Hell in the Bible. Why do so many people doubt that there is a Hell? They have not read the Bible. Do we believe in Hell? Is that not the primary reason why we fervently preach the Gospel?

Up to Mark 5:8 the dialog is between Jesus and a single demon inside the man. In verse 2 we

read about "a man with an unclean spirit". In verse 7 the demon is pleading, "that Thou torment me not". In verse 8 Jesus said, "Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit". It is only beginning with verse 9 that the dialog is between Jesus and a multitude of demons. The chief demon in this man says:

#2. My Name Is Legion (Mark 5:9-10, Luke 11:24-26). We read in Mark 5:9,

Mark 5:9 And he (i.e. Jesus) asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

If this man truly is a representative for many who are going to be saved, then we can understand the presence of many demons in him. A legion of soldiers in the Roman army consists of about 6000 men. This does not mean that this man was possessed by 6000 demons. It only indicates that there were many. But they used a military name. Therefore these demons represent an army against God. Did you know we are in a war? Either you are in the army of Christ, or you are in the army of Satan. No one is neutral. Secondly, this army against Christ is very numerous. There are many demons on the side of Satan, and many people have joined their ranks. Thirdly, this army is unanimous. There are no traitors or deserters. They are united into one legion. Fourthly, they are very powerful. We are no match for such powerful enemies. But "in the Lord, and in the power of His might" we shall be able to stand against them. Fifthly, they are well organized in that formidable enemy army against Christ. There are "principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness of this world". Then we read in V.10,

Mark 5:10 And he besought Him much that He would not send them away out of the country.

Why would these demons have this request? They asked Jesus not to torment them before the appointed time, but they also asked Him that they might remain in that country of Decapolis. These demons seemed to have a particular affection for that country. Why? Perhaps because there were so many unsaved people and so few Gospel preachers there. This was an ideal place for demons. Let us not deceive ourselves. When we have eradicated all the vices from our bodies; when we have done away with smoking, and drinking, and pornography, and telling dirty jokes, and so on, but we do not have Jesus in our hearts, then we too have become an ideal place for demons to dwell. Let me read to you from Luke 11:24, where the Lord Jesus told a similar parable:

Luke 11:24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.

Luke 11:25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.

Luke 11:26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

Therefore, we must watch out that we do not become such an ideal place for demons to dwell. Let us return to Mark 5:10, where the demons plead with Jesus:

  • Do Not Send Us Away (Mark 5:10-12, I Pet 2:8)

Mark 5:10 And he besought Him much that He would not send them away out of the country.

Mark 5:11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.

Mk 5:12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

Can you see that the demons must ask God's permission for everything they do? Think about that when you are plagued by a wicked person, or when you are troubled by some evil circumstances, or when you are troubled by disease, or by germs. These are not under the control of Satan, but these are under the control of God. God desires to teach us through chastening. Think about that.

Now, there seems to be something very strange in those requests of the demons. First they plead that they would not be sent directly to Hell. Second they plead that they would not be sent out of the country. And third they plead that they might enter into the swine. We know this story. As soon as they enter into the swine, the swine commit suicide. This means that the demons immediately have to find another place. Then where do the demons go next? God did not give us that information because that is not the direction we must look, when we interpret this historical event. More likely, we should see all three requests as one request that was granted. They would not directly go to Hell, they would not be sent out of the country, and they would be sent into the swine. That is all one request. This would fit perfectly if the swine represent the Reprobate in that country. What does that word mean: "Reprobate"? It refers to all those people whom God never intended to save. God passed them by. They will die unsaved and they will be condemned to Hell for their sins. That is terrible Pastor. How can you say such terrible things? Well, allow me to read to you what God says in I Pet 2:8,

1 Peter 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed (2X).

God says in I Pet 2:8 that Christ will be "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to them which stumble at the Word of God". These are the "Reprobate". They cannot believe ALL that God has written in the Bible. They are disobedient to God's command to believe the Word of God. And they are appointed to this unbelief, because Christ passed them by 2000 years ago. When Jesus suffered and died on the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ did not suffer for all the sins of all the people in the world. That is not the teaching of the Bible. The Bible says that Christ suffered for the sins of all those whom the Father had given Him before the foundation of the world, God's Elect. The Lord Jesus Christ suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for His Elect people. Nothing less would have satisfied the righteousness of God. But Christ never suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for those who themselves are going to Hell. These are the Reprobate! These are represented by the swine. And the demons were saying:

  • Send Us Into the Swine (Mark 5:12-13, 4:19). We read in Mark 5:12,

Mk 5:12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

Mark 5:13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand)

and were choked in the sea.

The devils begged Jesus to go into the swine, and immediately Jesus permitted them to do so. If

the swine represent the Reprobate, then we can see why Jesus immediately permitted them to enter the swine. They that delight in idolatry and sensual lusts are like the swine. They become a habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit. And then we see that the entire herd of swine without exception ran violently toward the sea, where they were choked in the sea. Literally they were strangled in the sea; like the seed that was sown among thorns would germinate, but "the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, (or strangle the word) and it becometh unfruitful". This is literally what happened to the swine.

What does God have in view here? We can see it all around us. Allow me to focus on two groups of people. First of all there are those who want nothing to do with Christ or with His church. They are avowed Atheists. Their lives reflect what they believe, and their lifestyle leads inevitably to self-destruction. They end up being choked in their own miseries. Our children have no trouble discerning this lifestyle and this mode of self-destruction. Their example is not a danger to our children. When our children make that choice, it will be a cut and dried choice without any deception. The second group of people are much more dangerous. They are people who go to church and call themselves Christians, but they have never been "Born Again". Are there Reprobates in the church? Yes! Every church has them. They have been in churches all through the centuries, and they have contributed to the corruption of the Gospel throughout time. But in our days these Reprobates are working with much greater efficiency to destroy the church. I am not talking about the sects and cults out there. I am talking about the degradation occurring in mainline denominations and churches by Pastors and Elders who bring in damnable heresies such as "speaking in tongues", and who bring in mangled versions of the Bible, such as the NIV. These things and these doctrines have destroyed many congregations and denominations throughout the world. This too is a mode of self-destruction. These people are much more dangerous to our children, because they are so deceiving.

#3. They Pleaded Him to Depart (Mark 5:14-17, Luke 8:37).

We are back in the historical part of Mark, chapter 5. We read in Mark 5:14-17,

Mark 5:14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.

Mark 5:15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

Mark 5:16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.

Mark 5:17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.

They begged Jesus to leave their country. What a horrible idea! Actually the situation was far

worse than we read here in Mark 5:14-17. Let me read to you from the parallel account in Luke 8:37,

Luke 8:37 Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.

Not just the city of the Gadarenes, but the entire country round about pleaded with Jesus to leave and to leave them alone. They saw the man they could not tame, and they saw that he was now clothed and in his right mind. But they also saw that their pigs were gone, all 2000 of them. Those were fattened pigs, worth at least $100 each. That meant $200,000 down the drain. They knew that Jesus was a Jew and that Jews consider pigs as the lowest of the animals. Perhaps they had more pigs on the other side of the mountain, and they were afraid that they would lose those pigs also. Obviously they had not considered this man's soul, and that one man's soul is worth more than all the material value of this entire earth. Is it not astounding that they would consider their pigs of greater value than this man's soul? But it was true! Through this story the Lord Jesus is showing US that these are the people we have to deal with when we are evangelizing the world out there. We must be prepared to deal with people whose hearts are so hardened that they would easily trade a man's soul for pigs. But what else can we expect from people who are spiritually dead, and are spiritually blind?

        Look at the Contrasts (Mark 5:17-18, II Cor 13:5). Compare the Gadarenes with the this man.

What kind of fear had gripped them? Did they fear God? No! Did they fear the prospect of Hell for this demoniac, or for themselves? No! Did they have a fear of losing more material goods? Yes! They had much to lose. Obviously Jesus did not value material things like they did. Did they fear their world would be turned upside down? Yes! And they did not like that either. Therefore we read in verse 17,

Mark 5:17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.

Mark 5:18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.

Do we see the contrast? The unsaved prefer that Jesus would go away. They don't want their world to be turned upside down. This is what we should expect when we bring the Gospel to the Gadarenes. But those who have been saved want to be with Jesus. Their world has changed. Their entire life goals have changed. Their language has changed. Their friends have changed. They have acquired a new family in Christ. Their desires have changed. Most of all, they desire to be where their Bridegroom is. But let us be fair, and let us examine ourselves. Can we see these character traits in us? Can we say that our world has changed? Can we say that our life goals have changed? Can we say that our friends have changed? Can we really say that we love our family in Christ more than our family in the flesh? Can we really say that our desires have changed? Most of all, do we really desire to be where our Bridegroom is? The Lord Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them". Is it really true that we desire to be here as much as we can? Is it really true that we desire to serve Christ with our presence? I am asking those questions, because God says, "Make your calling and election sure" (II Pet 1:10). Make sure where you stand. And again God says in II Cor 13:5,

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

It is far better to examine ourselves now and know if we are not saved, than discover later when we stand before the Judgment throne that we were never saved, even though we thought we were. We cannot bring the Gospel to the Gadarenes unless first WE are saved. This is why we must examine ourselves. And when we discover that we are saved, we can rejoice that:

  • Great Things the Lord Hath Done for Thee (Mark 5:18-20). We read in Mark 5:18-20,

Mark 5:18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.

Mark 5:19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

Mark 5:20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

Can you see now why Jesus went to this particular coast of the Sea of Galilee? He went there to meet this crazy man from Gadara. Then Jesus saved him and He sent him back to evangelize his own people. This is how God works in evangelizing the world. Now it is our turn. What should we say? How do we witness? We can learn a great deal about the Gospel and pump it all in our head. That all stays in our head. But this is how we witness to others: We must tell them what great things the Lord has done for us. Don't give people a list of things to do and not to do. Then you would be reading them the Law. We must tell them what God has done within us. We tell them that God has given us a love for the Bible. There in the Bible we found three things: #1, SIN: We found that all mankind is on the way to Hell as a just retribution for our sins. #2, SALVATION: God gave us a way of escape. God gave us the faith to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ fully paid for all our sins on the cross. We believe that. God did that. #3, SERVICE: as a result our entire outlook on life has changed. Now we want to live only for Him as an expression of our gratitude for saving our soul. This is what the Lord has done for us. And now God commands everyone in the world to believe this Gospel.

Practice this type of witness on our children. We want our children to know this Gospel first. And pray that God's irresistable grace may accompany our witness, because without God's almighty power to transform souls all our cleverness and ingenuity in witnessing is reduced to nothing.

Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.