What did Satan see in the Gadarene? Why would Satan employ multiple demons, maybe even thousands of demons, to torment this single individual? What was so special about this dude?
For that matter, why did Jesus come such a long way for this very short encounter?
Here’s what we know (Mark 5:1-20).
Jesus came, with His disciples, to meet just one man, the man who had grown up in the Decapolis, the region of the Ten-Cities southeast of the Sea of Galilee.
Apparently, the man’s family and friends had once cared about him. They had attempted to take him to a safe place where he could get professional help. But, “no one was able to restrain him... he often had been bound with shackles and chains, but had torn the chains apart and smashed the shackles” (Mark 5:3-4, CSB). Eventually, they gave up, leaving the unfortunate man alone, or so they thought...
When Jesus arrived, the Gadarene was hanging out in the cemetery, living and sleeping in the tombs. He was naked and nasty, covered with dried blood and filth. Like the troll that lived under the bridge, he cried out day and night, frightening those that passed by. He had become a legend... the crazy man from Gadara!
But “when he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before him. And he cried out with a loud voice, ‘What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you before God, don’t torment me!’ ” (Mark 5:6-7, CSB).
“Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ” The answer came, “ ‘My name is Legion... because we are many’ ” (Mark 5:9, CSB). Who was doin’ the talking? It wasn’t the Gadarene. It was the demons living inside him!
This is where the story gets weird. The demons begged Jesus to cast them, all of them, into a herd of pigs. Jesus dis! Then the whole herd, two-thousand demon-possessed pigs, raced down the hill, squealing, directly into the Sea of Galilee where they drowned.
His name was Legion. Humm? A legion was a Roman battalion of six-thousand men. That begs the question: Had six-thousand demons taken up residence in this guy’s life? Maybe there were only two-thousand demons – one for each suicidal pig! How many is “many”?
Don’t miss one little detail. Jesus snapped His finger, uttered one sentence, and Satan’s squad of merciless henchmen were sent away! The crazy man from Gadara was set free! When we last see the Gadarene, he is at the feet of Jesus, begging to follow Jesus as the newest disciple.
“Jesus did not let him but told him, ‘Go home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you’ ” (Mark 5:19, CSB).
End of story! We don’t know what happened next... But Jesus knew...
Jesus sent him home, where relationships would be restored.
Jesus commissioned the Gadarene as a missionary to the Ten-Cities. There, his testimony would resound and cause many to turn to the Master of Mercy, the God of Grace!
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor