In Mark’s fifth chapter, Jesus made the dead... alive! He made the unclean... clean. He made the captive... free.
The remarkable chapter begins with Jesus’ voyage across the Sea of Galilee to the eastern shores, to “the region of the Gerasenes,” a territory inhabited primarily by Gentiles. This was the last place one might expect to find a Jewish rabbi. It was foreign, far from the comfortable Promised Land. They could smell the huge herd of pigs that was grazing just over the hill. They could feel the eeriness of death and defilement emanating from the Gentile graveyard, right down the path.
Stepping out of the boat, Jesus and His disciples were immediately confronted by the notorious “man who lived in the tombs!” “As soon as he got out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met him. He lived in the tombs, and 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. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before him” (Mark 5:2–6).
Luke records, “a demon-possessed man from the town met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes and did not stay in a house but in the tombs” (Luke 8:27). Matthew recalled seeing “two demon-possessed men... as they came out of the tombs” (Matthew 8:28).
“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). It was the evil spirit that “cried out.” And when Jesus inquired as to his name, it was the demon who responded, “My name is Legion ... because we are many” (Mark 5:6-7). Had six-thousand demons, a legion of them, taken up residence in the poor man’s life?
Read the rest of the story. See that Jesus, with a spoken command, freed the “man who lived in the tombs,” liberating him from his afflictions.
Here’s the punch line! Jesus is able to take someone from the tombs and transform him, to set him free, to restore and revive. The Savior came to give life to the lifeless, to clean the unclean. Jesus is able! He proved it!
“The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). That’s His mantra, His motto, His mission. He isn’t picky. He loves the unlovely. He has come to save everyone, even a naked, dirty, demon-possessed man who slept with rotting bones. And yes, even me.
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.