Today's verses are Mark 5:4-6: "...for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him." The Gerasene demoniac, as he is commonly called, encounters Jesus. These verses give us three signs of demonic activity in his life:
1. There is supernatural strength. Evidently, when people saw his self-destructive behavior, they tried to bind him with chains. But he was always able to break free. When people are under the control of a demonic agency, they supposedly have incomparable strength.
2. There is social isolation. One of the beauties of the Christian faith is Christian community. We know we need one another in order to live as God desires. Only in community can we give and receive love, encouragement, prayer and care. But under demonic influence, a person will move toward social isolation. They will be moved toward loneliness, where the dark, demonic world can continually tell them how unloved and unlovely they are by God and everyone else in their lives.
3. There are self-destructive tendencies. Here, the tendency is toward personal cutting oneself over and over again. Even today, when people encounter the demonic, they see people performing this same kind of cutting behavior. Satan and his demons are focused on pain and death. They want to kill and destroy people. They hate life (which is what God loves most!). They hate God and that which God loves the most in creation, the prize of his creation, you and me!
Amazingly, the demoniac runs toward Jesus and falls down before him. Is this the involuntary submission of the demon to Jesus? He knew who Jesus was, the King and Creator of the universe, both having come from the eternal world. Did he know he had to bow down before Jesus? Or was this the control of the man himself, desiring to be free from this demonic activity and death? Was it one last attempt to be free from this evil forever? Or was it some combination of both?
We don't know for sure. But we do know the man and the demon in him fell at the feet of Jesus.
The demonic world is real. The Bible is very clear about that. But Jesus is Lord over the demonic world. Jesus' name is the name above all names. The Bible says that EVERY knee shall bow before him, in heaven and on earth, whether human or demonic (Philippians 2:5-11).
Jesus is Lord over all. He is worthy of all our praise and worship today and forever.