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RECIPIENTS OF GOD’S GREAT GRACE – THE GADARENE




The Apostle Paul closed his letter to the beloved church at Ephesus with a dire warning. “Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:10–12). Paul wanted his friends to understand that our powerful enemy comes to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). Peter agreed. “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world” (1 Peter 5:8–9).


The devil isn’t a cartoon figure; a mean-looking dude dressed in red carrying a pitchfork. He’s real! Just ask Job! He felt the full brunt of Satan’s attack, leaving him powerless, penniless, and alone (Job 1-2). Or ask the Gadarene…


I suspect that the Gadarene had a family; a wife and children; a dad and mom. Maybe he’d been a shopkeeper or a craftsman. I can imagine a nice home with a picket fence… a peaceful and ordinary existence. But something happened that shattered the storybook life.


When we’re first introduced to the Gadarene, he’s living in a graveyard (Mark 5:3). “For a long time he had worn no clothes and did not stay in a house but in the tombs” (Luke 8:27). Naked, he slept with the bones of dead men and probably robbed food from travelers or the neighboring communities.


Apparently, he’d been given super-natural power, Satanic power. “No one was able to restrain him anymore—not even with a chain—because he often had been bound with shackles and chains, but had torn the chains apart and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him” (Mark 5:3-4). Matthew records that there were “two demon-possessed men … They were so violent that no one could pass that way” (Matthew 8:28). He lived in constant torment. “Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones” (Mark 5:5).


Thankfully, mercifully, Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). The Master’s first question was, “What is your name?”The Gadarene answered, “My name is Legion… because we are many.” (Mark 5:9). A Roman legion had six-thousand soldiers. Did six-thousand demons possess the man? Maybe.


The enemy is powerful, but Jesus is All-Powerful! With an authoritative and compassionate word, Jesus cast out the demons, freeing the Gadarene from the enemy’s cruel captivity. “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” (Mark 5:8).


Remember, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, ESV). Take heart! “All authority” belongs to Jesus (Matthew 28:18) and although the “thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy… Jesus has come so that we may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10). “The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). One day, very soon, “every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10–11). By grace, the Gadarene will be there, bowed low before our King. So will legions of defeated demons…