Mark 5:1-2, 8-15, 18-20
Tom Rush, staff evangelist
Liberty Baptist Church, Hartwell
The story of the Gadarene demoniac is filled with important lessons for both the believer and the church. Our focus in this lesson is upon the proper response to the dramatic life-transforming power of Christ. We are concluding a six week study of how God uses broken vessels.
Unfortunately, we likely do not compare ourselves with the demon possessed man in the story. We may feel that we do not need the type of radical transformation he most assuredly had. Jesus and the disciples arrive in “the country of the Gadarenes,” on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. They immediately encounter “a man with an unclean spirit.”
The description of this man’s miserable and desperate life is recounted in verses 3-7. Like all lost people, he is clearly demon possessed (cf. Eph. 2:1-2). His life is typical of the maniacal mannerisms we would expect from someone in his condition. B
ut you don’t have to be maniacal to be under the control of demons. The Bible makes it clear that we are either the children of God or the children of the devil (1 John 3:10).
We meet a man who reveals to us the reality of brokenness. He is rebellious to God and has been rejected by men. It would seem that he has been condemned to a hopeless life. Not only were there none willing to help him out of his condition, none were able to do so.
But then Jesus arrives on the scene.
We see there is One who can replace our brokenness with revival and restoration. Jesus delivers this man from his demonic tormentors and gloriously saves his soul. The transformation is dramatic and it is permanent. The man has been set free and the demons who once filled his life are permitted to enter a herd of swine.
Like the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, we have a reference to the low life of sin being comparable to a pig’s life.
This is a remarkable blessing! When Christ transforms someone by His grace, the difference is both exciting and quite noticeable. In verse 15 we find one of the most compelling statements in the Word of God. When the people from the community found out what had happened, they came to see it.
They found the formerly demon possessed man, “sitting and clothed and in his right mind.” Mark adds, “And they were afraid.”
It was surely an exciting thing to see this man transformed. But to the onlookers, it was troubling.
If Christ changes you, transforms you, saves you, then there is a radical break with your past. This is troubling to the nominal churchgoer. Such radical faith, evidence of true saving grace, terrifies them. It is a terrible thing to suddenly come face-to-face with the reality of honest Christianity, only to realize you only possess a cheap counterfeit.
Sadly, we simply do not see ourselves as being in need of such a radical transformation as the Gadarene demoniac. But all have sinned, all of us have fallen short of the glory of God. We are wicked and vile sinners and whenever we see someone in the depths of gross immorality we would do well to remind ourselves of a great truth, “There but for the grace of God go I.”
Often, members of the church reject this transforming power of Christ just as the citizens of Gadara rejected Jesus. Incredibly, “they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.” I sometimes refer to this crowd as the church that did not want Jesus. It is a dreadful legacy far too many of our churches have adopted.
But in this story we not only have the reality of brokenness and a remarkable blessing, we have a response of boldness. This transformed man immediately wanted to be with Jesus!
Jesus placed him into His service and he gladly obeyed. Two words summarize this man’s response of boldness – worship and obedience.
There is one certain sign a man or woman has been radically transformed by the power of the grace of Christ. That person naturally desires to, and so will, share with others what Jesus has done for them! The reality is that if you have been so changed you really can’t help it. This man “departed and began to proclaim in the Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.”
Have you been transformed by Jesus? I mean truly, radically, and drastically changed? That is what it means to be saved!
If so, then here is Jesus’ instruction to you, “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.” Imagine what great revival could come to our churches if we were obedient to this command of our Lord.
May God grant us the sincere desire, the Holy Spirit motivation, and the brokenness of heart to trust Him to share the gospel right here and right now!
Questions for Group Discussion:
- What does it mean to you to be transformed by the power of God’s grace (cf. Rom. 12:1-2)?
- How did your life, before you were saved, compare with the Gadarene Demoniac? How was your life different? What does it mean that when you were saved you were set free from demon possession (cf. Eph. 2:1-10)?
- If Christ could save this demoniac, is there anyone whom He could not save?
- Make a list of your friends who are lost and unchurched. Have you been obedient to go tell them what God has done for you? Would you make the commitment to share your testimony with at least one lost friend before the end of this year?