There is a big difference between believing that Jesus exists and entrusting your life to him. Today’s passage shows us that faith goes beyond intellectual understanding or even good theology.
- Before reading, think about the difference between knowing a person and knowing about a person.
- Ask God to reveal Jesus to you through this passage—not who you want Jesus to be, but who he truly is and what having him in your life involves.
READ THE WORD: MARK 5:1-20 (ESV)
1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Describe the effect the unclean spirit had on the man’s life. What would you do if you met someone like that?
- What does this story tell us about the person of Jesus—either directly or implied?
- What does verse 7 reveal about the demons’ understanding of who Jesus is? Why is just knowing who Jesus is not enough to have a right relationship with him? What else is necessary?
- In what ways is your life like the demon-possessed man’s life? From what has God freed you? How has God healed you—or in other words made you “clothed and in [your] right mind”?
- What can you learn from or imitate in the demon-possessed man’s response to being healed (vs. 18) and his response to Jesus’ instructions (vss. 19-20)?
RESPOND TO GOD
The people of this area witnessed as Jesus exercised power over a man and his demons. They could not control the man, even with chains, and they didn’t like it. It threw their sense of security off the cliff! To live with someone who has as much power as Jesus has sometimes means losing our sense of control. Ultimately, it’s not enough to just know the truth about Jesus like the demons in our passage. Trusting Jesus ultimately involves surrendering to an all-powerful God. Do you know Jesus well enough to trust him with your life, or do you just know about him?
- Spend some time praising Jesus by acknowledging his attributes (all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, holy, loving, uncontrollable, etc.).
- Ask God to heal places that are broken in your life—emotional, physical, relational, or spiritual.
- Express to God your desire to submit to his plan for your life.