From Death To Life

From Death To Life: Mark 5:1-20
Pastor John Nicholas
Sunday May 3, 2020

The sea had been calmed
Mark 4:35 (NASB)
Jesus Stills the Sea
35 On that day, when evening came, He *said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.”

The disciples were amazed and afraid
The journey to the other side continues

Mark 5:1–20 (LGNTI:SBL)
1Καὶ ἦλθον εἰς τὸ πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν.
And they came to the other side of the sea to the region of the Gerasenes

  • After the storm
  • What time of day? The next morning?
    • Probably morning as v6 says that he saw Jesus from a distance which would preclude nighttime
  • This is the only reference to the disciples in this narrative
  • Probably Khersa (Gerasa)- south eastern shore
  • Matthew mentions Gadarenes which is 30 plus miles from the shoreline but part of the Decapolis and is probably one of the largest if not the largest city of the Decapolis hence Matthew mentioning it.
  • Most important thing here is that the region of the Decapolis touches the south eastern shores of the sea of Galilee
  • And it is an area that is Gentile in nature

2καὶ ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου εὐθὺς ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ,
And as he was getting out of the boat a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit immediately went to meet Him

  • Living in the tombs would indicate his ‘deadness’
  • Away from friends and family
  • Unclean spirit is the cause
  • The man is led/driven to Jesus
  • Why? How?
    • Probably has to do with divinity on earth
  • Matthew 8:28 mentions two demon possessed men so we need to speak of it.
    • Mark and Luke do not contain only in their description
    • And there is only one healing in Matthew
    • In other words there is no issue with these historical narratives
    • All from slightly different perspectives
    • This is not an issue because at hand is the conversation between Jesus and Legion

Matthew 8:28 (NASB)
Jesus Casts Out Demons
28 When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way.

3ὃς τὴν κατοίκησιν εἶχεν ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν, καὶ οὐδὲ ἁλύσει οὐκέτι οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο αὐτὸν δῆσαι
Who was dwelling among the tombs and not even with a chain no one was able to bind him any longer

  • This was the human solution –
    • send him away
    • abandon this lost cause
    • Because he could not be bound
    • Since it is an area of tombs prob indicates that he is a gentile
  • Not among the living
  • Distant from human contact
  • Living among the dead
  • Caves/opening carved in the rock
  • Great strength indicative of possession
  • It seems to be a faithful reproduction of the recital given to the disciples by the neighbors who knew the case.

4διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν πολλάκις πέδαις καὶ ἁλύσεσι δεδέσθαι καὶ διεσπάσθαι ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ τὰς ἁλύσεις καὶ τὰς πέδας συντετρῖφθαι, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἴσχυεν αὐτὸν δαμάσαι·
Because he had often been bound with shackles and chains and the chains had been torn apart and the shackles had been shattered, and no one was strong enough to subdue him

  • All methods to control him were gone
  • Previous binding did not work
  • He is now relegated to the tombs
  • Much like the previous storm this man is out of control
    • Chaos reigns because of the possession
  • The fetters were shattered

5καὶ διὰ παντὸς νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν καὶ ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν ἦν κράζων καὶ κατακόπτων ἑαυτὸν λίθοις.
And constantly during every night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was crying out and cutting himself with stones

  • Night to day is the typical Jewish way of describing a day
  • Numbers 19:16 – unclean to be around the dead

Numbers 19:16 (NASB)
16 Also, anyone who in the open field touches one who has been slain with a sword or who has died naturally, or a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean for seven days.

  • The Talmud will tell us that day and night among the tombs is the sign of uncleanness-where is this from?
  • The man is in torment
    • Crying out and cutting himself
    • Misery
    • desperation
    • Out of control
  • The unclean spirits are destroying an image bearer of God
  • One cannot help but remember Job cutting himself with pottery shards
  • His personhood has been destroyed
  • And it is a lost situation in human terms
  • The description emphasizes the destruction of his personality to the point of insanity by the demons and the ostracism and brutal treatment he had received from the people.

6καὶ ἰδὼν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἔδραμεν καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτόν,
And when he saw Jesus from a distance he ran and knelt down before Him

  • Probably morning since he can see Jesus from a distance
  • What were the disciples thinking
    • A demon possessed man running at them
    • And just after the storm was calmed
  • Kneeling down is a sign of worship
  • Even the demons knees hit the ground in the presence of Christ

7καὶ κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγει· Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ υἱὲ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ὑψίστου; ὁρκίζω σε τὸν θεόν, μή με βασανίσῃς.
And crying out with a loud voice he said, “what am I to you Jesus son of the God most high, I implore you by God do not torment me.”

  • The spirit(s) want to keep residence in the man
  • They want to stay there, not exorcised
  • No difference is noted between the man and the demon(s)
    • God most high reference, as noted below, may point to this man being a gentile
  • The unclean spirits desire to stay there
  • They do not want to be in Jesus’ presence
  • It is only natural that the unholy things would be tormented in the presence of divinity

8ἔλεγεν γὰρ αὐτῷ· Ἔξελθε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἀκάθαρτον ἐκ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.
For He was saying to him, “unclean spirit come out of the man.”

  • Jesus is not struggling to cast out the spirit(s)this is just part of the telling of the narrative
  • Matthew Henry’s words below are insightful.
    • The man runs and worships Jesus instead of being repulsed by Him
    • But the demons want nothing to do with Jesus
    • The inner turmoil is evident
    • The work of Christ in the man to desire healing is shown

9καὶ ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν· Τί ὄνομά σοι; καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· Λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι, ὅτι πολλοί ἐσμεν·
And He was asking him, “What is your name?” and he said to Him, “my name is Legion because we are many.”

  • A legion, from Latin, would mean 6,000+ men
  • Do not read a specific number into this as it is not the point
  • The name is not important for Christ
  • Nor does the name necessarily reference and actual name and could be the spirit’s avoidance of using their own name – control of spirits in the ANE
  • But it does play into ancient beliefs that knowing the name enabled control

10καὶ παρεκάλει αὐτὸν πολλὰ ἵνα μὴ αὐτὰ ἀποστείλῃ ἔξω τῆς χώρας.
And he was imploring him many times that not to send them out of the region.

  • The spirits do not want to leave the area
  • Why? We do not know
  • But the devil(s) don’t want to give up their post
  • The realize they cannot resist God’s will
  • They desire to stay in the region

11ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ πρὸς τῷ ὄρει ἀγέλη χοίρων μεγάλη βοσκομένη·
And there was a large herd of pigs at the hill feeding

  • Why are there pigs
  • Either
    • They are the pigs of gentile herdsman
    • Or they are pigs of Jewish herdsman that have forgone their faith for profit
    • We do not know
  • Because there are pigs it points to the uncleanness of the area
  • Leviticus 11:4-8 (NASB)
    • 4 Nevertheless, you are not to eat of these, among those which chew the cud, or among those which divide the hoof: the camel, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you.
    • 5 Likewise, the shaphan, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you;
    • 6 the rabbit also, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you;
    • 7 and the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew cud, it is unclean to you.
    • 8 You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.
  • Deuteronomy 14:8 (NASB)
    • 8 The pig, because it divides the hoof but does not chew the cud, it is unclean for you. You shall not eat any of their flesh nor touch their carcasses.

12καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες· Πέμψον ἡμᾶς εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, ἵνα εἰς αὐτοὺς εἰσέλθωμεν.
And them urged Him saying, “send us to the pigs so that we may enter into them.”

  • The unclean spirits wish to stay in area and they realize they cannot resist God therefore they are trying to strike a deal
  • And they can still remain in the area

13καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς. καὶ ἐξελθόντα τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ὡς δισχίλιοι, καὶ ἐπνίγοντο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ.
And He permitted them and the unclean spirits came out and entered into the pigs and the heard rushed (headlong) down the steep slope into the sea. And about two thousand were drowned in the sea

  • Again the number is not important but suffice it to say it is a large number of spirits that were tormenting this man
  • Notice that Jesus gave them permission
    • The demons did to the pigs what they were doing to the man
  • This demonstrates that the demons main goal was to destroy God’s image bearer
    • The pigs are of lesser value than man
  • Down the steep slopes and over the cliff

14Καὶ οἱ βόσκοντες αὐτοὺς ἔφυγον καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν εἰς τὴν πόλιν καὶ εἰς τοὺς ἀγρούς· καὶ ἦλθον ἰδεῖν τί ἐστιν τὸ γεγονός.
And their herdsmen fled and reported in the town and the countryside and they came to see what it was that had happened

  • Specific herdsman witness the event and tell other herdsmen in the area and the local town

15καὶ ἔρχονται πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν, καὶ θεωροῦσιν τὸν δαιμονιζόμενον καθήμενον ἱματισμένον καὶ σωφρονοῦντα, τὸν ἐσχηκότα τὸν λεγιῶνα, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν.
And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man sitting clothed and in his right mind, the one who had had the legion and they were afraid

  • The lost human cause was able to be healed by Jesus
  • He had healed an unclean man, living in an unclean place, in the presence of unclean animals, surrounded by unclean cities
  • The man who had been out of control (the storm inside) was healed
  • His storm was calmed
  • He was back to normal
  • Fear when faced with the reality of God’s power

16καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο τῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων.
And described to them, those who had seen what had happened to the demon possessed man and about the pigs
17καὶ ἤρξαντο παρακαλεῖν αὐτὸν ἀπελθεῖν ἀπὸ τῶν ὁρίων αὐτῶν.
And they began to urge him to depart from their region

  • The reaction to the miracle is not one of salvation for the witnesses but they ask Jesus to leave
  • This seems to happen with many of Jesus’ miracles
  • Which would fit with Lazarus and the rich man – miracles and testimonies don’t necessarily convert unbelievers
  • Leave because you have ruined our commerce

18καὶ ἐμβαίνοντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ πλοῖον παρεκάλει αὐτὸν ὁ δαιμονισθεὶς ἵνα μετʼ αὐτοῦ ᾖ.
And He was getting into the boat the demon-possessed man began to implore him that he could go with Him

  • The man who was saved wants to be with Jesus, begging to go with his savior

19καὶ οὐκ ἀφῆκεν αὐτόν, ἀλλὰ λέγει αὐτῷ· Ὕπαγε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου πρὸς τοὺς σούς, καὶ ἀπάγγειλον αὐτοῖς ὅσα ὁ κύριός σοι πεποίηκεν καὶ ἠλέησέν σε.
And He did not permit him, but said to him, “go to your home, to your people and tell them all that the Lord has done for you and the mercy He has had on you.”

  • Jesus tells him to stay to be a witness to God’s mercy and salvation
  • The others want him to leave
  • Jesus wants the man to glorify God
  • He is restoring the man to his people, his friends

20καὶ ἀπῆλθεν καὶ ἤρξατο κηρύσσειν ἐν τῇ Δεκαπόλει ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ πάντες ἐθαύμαζον.
And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him and all were astonished

  • The Decapolis – ten gentile cities
  • He was known and is now healed
  • Those who see are amazed but not necessarily converted
  • Mark may have seen this as the first mission to Gentiles
  • The man’s story produced astonishment, but the response fell short of actual faith in Jesus.
  • It declared that the victory of Jesus over evil forces is a reality in which the liberating power of the Kingdom of God is manifested in an extension of the saving mercy of God.

This is quite an amazing miracle that falls on the heels of another amazing miracle
Jesus had calmed the storm
From raging sea to glassy calm
From complete chaos to quiet serenity
And the boat that they were on landed in a region of the Decapolis
A region of 10 gentile cities
A region that to some degree Jews did not travel to
A region that was godless
And this is where Jesus took them
And specifically to an area with tombs
They landed in area that was considered unclean
An area of death
And Jesus was confronted by a demon possessed man
A man whom human efforts had failed to heal
A man in chaos
A man being torn apart
A man whom the demons were destroying
An image bearer of God in the process of dying via the prince of this world
Jesus saves
He saves the man from turmoil
He saves the man from chaos
He saves the man from death
He restores the man to life (in full)
He took the man from death to life
And the immediate response is to proclaim the mercy that the Lord had had on him and the great thing that had been done
The man went from chaos and death to glorifying God!
And this should be our response to the life that we are given in/through Christ
To glorify God
To testify to the great things that He has done in us
That He has saves sinners from certain death and eternal damnation and restores them to His side (Ephesians 2)
That we have become daughters/sons of the most High God
But is it evidenced in your life
Do not kid yourself
A person can know a lot about Jesus and not be saved
A person can go to church their whole life and not be saved
A person can tithe every week and not be saved
A person can be raised in a Christian household and not be saved

We can find assurance in our salvation and to do so I need to ask a few serious questions:

  • If you claim to be saved does your life reflect affection for Jesus
  • Do you desire to know more about Him?
  • Do you desire the things of God?
  • Do you find joy in God’s Holy Law?
  • Do you love the good news of the Gospel?
  • Do you desire an end to the sin in your life?
  • Do you trust that Christ’s work is sufficient for forgiveness of your sin?

When we reflect on these questions it is not about perfection it is about a changed life
Think to the man in the tombs
Dwelling with death
Living in chaos
Saved by Christ
And restored to life and joy in God’s mercy
1 Corinthians 9:23-27
Romans 11:33-12:2
Please consider your life in Christ
Jesus has authority to bring the dead to life
Glorify God by testifying to all about the mercy that the Lord has had on you and the great love that He has shown in the forgiveness of your sin.
Tell all how Jesus took you from death to Life

1 Corinthians 9:23-27 (NASB)
23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

Romans 11:33-12:2 (NASB)
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?
35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again?
36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Dedicated Service
1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

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