JESUS DRIVES OUT EVIL SPIRITS
Psalm 118:6, ESV
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
MARK 5:1-5, NIrV
1 They went across the Sea of Galilee to the area of the Gerasenes. 2 Jesus got out of the boat. A man controlled by an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 The man lived in the tombs. No one could keep him tied up anymore. Not even a chain could hold him. 4 His hands and feet had often been chained. But he tore the chains apart. And he broke the iron cuffs on his ankles. No one was strong enough to control him. 5 Night and day he screamed among the tombs and in the hills. He cut himself with stones.
After a scary sail across the Sea of Galilee, Jesus and his disciples were greeted by something just as scary the second they stepped on the shore. He was just a man, but acted more like a monster! Why? Because an evil spirit (also called a “demon”) was controlling his body. Demons are evil angels and this one made the man’s life miserable! He lived among the tombs, where dead people were buried. He cut his body with sharp bits of stone. He screamed all day long. And when the townspeople wrapped him in chains, the evil spirit gave him the power to rip them to shreds!
+ What are some ways this evil spirit/demon made the man’s life miserable? (vs. 3-5)
+ Why was this man able to break apart strong chains?
MARK 5:6-8, NIrV
6 When he saw Jesus a long way off, he ran to him. He fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “Jesus, Son of the Most High God, what do you want with me? Swear to God that you won’t hurt me!” 8 This was because Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”
How frightening it would be to see a chain-breaking, demon-controlled man running straight at you? But instead of bashing Jesus into bits, this monster of a man bowed at Jesus’ feet and begged for his life! Why would this scary superman scream and sob like a scaredy-cat? Because the evil spirit inside him knew Jesus’ secret identity: the all-powerful Son of God! The demon gave this man chain-breaking power, but Jesus had storm-stopping power! So when Jesus said, “Come out!”, the spirit inside the man had no choice but to obey Jesus’ order like a well-trained puppy dog!
+ Why was the evil spirit so scared of Jesus?
+ What did the evil spirit beg Jesus to do? (vs. 7)
MARK 5:9-10, NIrV
9 Then Jesus asked the demon, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied. “There are many of us.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
Just like God’s good angels have names of their own, so do evil angels. When Jesus ordered the evil spirit to tell him his name, the demon gave an odd answer: Legion. Why was this strange? Because “Legion” wasn’t a name! It was a word used in the Roman army. A “legion” was a group of about 6,000 soldiers. Do you understand now what the evil spirit was saying? The miserable man standing before Jesus wasn’t being bothered by one evil spirit; there were a whole bunch of them, perhaps thousands! Still, even a million evil spirits would be no match in a battle against just one Jesus!
+ What does the word “legion” mean?
+ What did the evil spirits beg Jesus not to do? (vs. 10)
MARK 5:11-13, NIRV
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs. Let us go into them.” 13 Jesus allowed it. The evil spirits came out of the man and went into the pigs. There were about 2,000 pigs in the herd. The whole herd rushed down the steep bank. They ran into the lake and drowned.
If you heard that God’s Son and a legion of demons were battling by the beach, you’d run down there expecting to see an epic battle between good and evil. However, this fight was basically over before it even started! The combined power of thousands of demons didn’t even come close to matching the might of the almighty Jesus! Still, these evil spirits were desperate for destruction! They begged Jesus for permission to pass into some nearby pigs. When Jesus gave them the go-ahead, these devils caused 2,000 of these poor porkers to plunge into the depths of the sea.
+ Why didn’t the legion of evil spirits try to battle Jesus?
+ We don’t know exactly how many evil spirits had been controlling this man. If there was one spirit for each pig that drowned, how many spirits would there have been?
MARK 5:14-17, NIRV
14 Those who were tending the pigs ran off. They told the people in the town and countryside what had happened. The people went out to see for themselves. 15 Then they came to Jesus. They saw the man who had been controlled by many demons. He was sitting there. He was now dressed and thinking clearly. All this made the people afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told them what had happened to the man. They told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to beg Jesus to leave their area.
The instant the evil spirits left him, the miserable man's mind was made clear again. After Jesus drove out his demons, he no longer acted like a screaming, chain-breaking monster. However, when the townspeople came to check out what happened, they weren't happy – they were angry and afraid! They felt angry because 2,000 of their pigs were now floating dead in the Sea of Galilee. And they felt afraid because Jesus was apparently even more powerful than the monster of a man they'd been unable to chain up! So instead of giving glory to Jesus, they just wanted him to scram!
+ When the townspeople came, what was the man doing? (vs. 15)
+ Why did the townspeople ask Jesus to leave? (vs. 15)
MARK 5:18-20, NIRV
18 Jesus was getting into the boat. The man who had been controlled by demons begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him. He said, “Go home to your own people. Tell them how much the Lord has done for you. Tell them how kind he has been to you.” 20 So the man went away. In the area known as the Ten Cities, he began to tell how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
Our story this week began as Jesus stepped out of a boat and onto the shore. Right away, he was met by a man with thousands of evil spirits. But do you remember what happened during that boat ride across the sea? Can you remember the story right before this week’s story? If you answered, “Jesus told a stormy sea to be quiet and it actually listened to him!”, then ding, ding, ding! You are correct!
Think about how these two stories go together. In chapter 4 of the book of Mark, we learned that Jesus had the power to control wind and waves. And in the very next chapter, we learned he was way more powerful than an entire legion of demons. It’s pretty clear what Mark was trying to tell us: Jesus is mind-blowingly strong!
As Jesus’ disciples watched him make a stormy sea calm down, they were afraid. “Who is this guy?” they said, “Even the wind and waves listen to him!” And when the townspeople saw Jesus defeat the mighty monster man controlled by many evil spirits, how did they feel? They were afraid of Jesus, too. They begged him to go!
But there was one person who wasn’t afraid of Jesus: the man Jesus delivered from demonic destruction. The people of his town begged Jesus to leave, but this man begged, “Jesus, let me go with you!” Why was this man not afraid of the storm-stopping and demon-defeating power of Jesus? Why wasn’t he just as scared as everyone else was?
Because he knew for certain that Jesus was on his side. After all, Jesus had just rescued him from a legion of powerful evil spirits. Jesus saved him from his miserable life of screaming among tombs, breaking chains, and slashing his skin. Why would he be afraid of the man who had come to his rescue?
Here’s the good news for us: we don’t need to be afraid of Jesus, either! Just like the man with the legion of demons, Jesus is on our side. How can we be sure about that? Think about it for a moment. Jesus came to earth on a mission to rescue sinners. To do that, he allowed himself to be nailed to a wooden cross and die. Would Jesus go through all that terrible pain if he hated us? Would Jesus sit there and be punished in our place if he wanted to use his Son-of-God power to squash us like bugs? No way!
Jesus is scary powerful! He could stop a million storms without breaking a sweat. He could defeat a zillion legions of demons with his eyes closed if he wanted. Jesus’ amazing power is bad news for his enemies, but it’s good news for us. Why? Because we know he’s on our side!
+ The man wanted to leave with Jesus. What did Jesus tell him to do instead? (vs. 19)
+ When the man told the people what God did for him, how did they react? (vs. 20)