1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons,sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
Mark 5:1-20 (NASB)
There are two really interesting things that stand out to me when I read this. The first is the way the people respond to the miracle. The pig herders bring folks back to Jesus after telling them what he had done. They see that something miraculous has happened. The man who had been running around the tombs naked, acting like a lunatic, is sitting there calmly. This is a guy who had a legion of demons inside of him. People had seem him demonstrate superhuman strength. He broke chains. He cut himself with stones. This guy was under the influence of something evil and everyone knew it. Now he’s sitting there, dressed and in his right mind, talking to Jesus. Instead of rejoicing and being thankful, they are terrified and ask Jesus to leave.
The second thing is more subtle. The man who had been delivered from demonic influence asks Jesus if he can go with him and his disciples. This isn’t an unreasonable request. In fact, it’s something that Jesus had asked others to do; leave everything and follow him. Notice what Jesus does. He tells him to go home and let others know what God has done for him. He’s to go and give his testimony. He does exactly what Jesus asks him to and because of his story, many people heard about Jesus and were amazed. It’s interesting. Later, in Mark 6, Jesus and his disciples return to that same area after being rejected in his hometown. What happens? People hear that he is back and they rush to him and bring people for him to heal. Every where he goes, there are people waiting for him and he heals them all.
We aren’t all called to be a preacher, teacher, or missionary. However, we all have a story. We all have a past. We all have an encounter with Jesus that we can share. The man who had been possessed want to become a disciple of Jesus right then and there but Jesus had other plans. How many people came to know Christ because of his story? How many people will come to know Christ because of yours?
Grace and peace.