Rediscovering Jesus - Legion Delivered — A Christian Growth Message - Hope 103.2

Rediscovering Jesus – Legion Delivered — A Christian Growth Message

A series looking at our Saviour through the book of Mark, by Simon Manchester of Hope 103.2's Christian Growth Podcast.

By Simon ManchesterSunday 30 Apr 2023Christian Growth with Simon ManchesterFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Father, we thank you for this wonderful section of your word. And we ask that as we read of a man who is set free, that many of us here this morning would be strengthened, encouraged and thankful that you have set us free. And for those who are not yet set free that you would do that gracious work, we ask it in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Well, in case you’re visiting today, we’re travelling through the Gospel of Mark Little series called Rediscovering Jesus. And today we come to chapter five versus 1 to 20. If you were here last week, Jesus calmed the storm Chapter four. And this week he rescues a demonised man. Think about it.

The storm was an outward problem.

The demons are an inward problem.

Which is the most impressive?

To reach out and cause the wind and the waves to become still or to get inside a person that they might become saved and set free.

They’re both impressive, aren’t they?

And what we’re discovering as we read Mark’s gospel together, is that Jesus is a very great and good king who is able to control all spheres, all areas, and there is nothing outside his control. So when you belong to him.

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You are belonging to a person who actually has everything under his control.

The world that we live in has had somebody come into it who has claimed to be the king of all. That’s Jesus.

And every enemy we see submits to him. We see sickness. Submit to him. We see the storm, submit to him. We see the spirit submit to him next week, we’ll see death submit. He’s a very great and good king. And the passage we have today in Mark Chapter five is such an interesting and exciting passage. You need no clever story for me to tell you to get your interest. We’re just going to dive straight into it. And I want to follow the 20 verses by breaking it up into three parts. The first seven or eight verses we’re going to call the captive, and then the next six or seven verses we’re going to call the Liberator.

And then the last verse is we’re going to call the missionary. So the captive meets the Liberator and becomes the missionary. First of all, the captive versus 1 to 8.

The man in mark, Chapter five is a captive. We read in Chapter five, Verse one. He lives in pagan territory, an area called the garage Scenes. When Jesus and his disciples got into the boat, as we saw last week and crossed the lake, they crossed the border outside the promised land.

They moved to this place called the Garage Scenes, and we know the place is not Jewish because there’s a herd of pigs which would have been outlawed by Jewish law and the language in Verse seven, where the demon possessed man says some of the most high God, that’s a gentile phrase. It’s used in polytheistic religions may be interested to know that the whole area, the garage scenes, has been thought by sceptics or this story has been. This event has been thought by sceptics to be inaccurate because people have said, Look, the garrison area is so far away from the sea and the cliffs that the pigs could never have run that distance.

But praise be to God. In 1970 a bulldozer working on a road discovered a sign which indicated that the land of the garage scenes, the region went right to the cliffs and right to the sea. So just when you think you’re N I V Bible is about to fail, you pray that the R T A comes along and shows you that everything is fine. That’s what we read.

You see that Jesus deliberately therefore travels into gentle territory, leaves Jewish territory for gentle territory. He’s about to save a man who is as far away as you could possibly be from the people of God, and he’s about to commission him. This is a very sad man in a very dark place. We read in verse to that As Jesus gets out of the boat and steps onto the shore, this man comes running towards him. He has massive problems. The most serious, of course, is that he is demonised. These demons in dwell him, and they control him.

When you become a Christian, you cannot be demonised because God’s holy spirit lives in you and no other spirit can live in you.

Of course, our flesh and our sin continues to rage, but that’s not the same as being demonised. This man is living in the cemetery. He’s isolated. He’s unclean in every way. Nobody can control him. The original language literally says. Not with a chain no longer. No one was able to bind him. No one, no longer no one completely out of control. And as you read these verses of him being bound with chains and irons on his feet, you can imagine the townspeople at the wits end coming out and holding him down 10 men and eventually getting these chains and then discovering that he, with this remarkable strength, is able to remove them. He’s so tortured, this man that he is slashing himself.

And in the night you would hear his yells coming out of the terms, terrifying. If you saw him in the day, he was frightening spiritually. He’s a mess socially, he’s a mess. Personally, He’s a mess. He’s helpless, He’s hopeless, He’s desperate, and all the outward answers have failed.

Nobody knows what to do. The chains are a symbol of the attempt of the community to bring some kind of structure, order, safety, and they have failed. Some problems need inside answers, and this is one of them.

Now, when the man saw Jesus in Verse six, he has a double reaction. He’s delighted and he runs, and he’s afraid at exactly the same time we read that he ran to Jesus and he worshipped him. Fell at his feet, literally means to worship.

And you see, he knows who Jesus is. He calls him by name. A few verses ago we saw the disciples in the boat coming with Jesus coming the storm. And they say, Who is this?

Seven verses later at Gentile Demonised knows who Jesus is.


there’s another part of this man which is terrified and calls out in verse seven. Don’t torment me. What’s happening here? The man himself wants help. The demons inside do not want to be destroyed. We know from the rest of Scripture that the days of evil beings are numbered.

But they don’t want the final judgement to come now.

And so there is this tension with the man running for help, the demons crying for protection. I want to ask a very important question of you this morning. And that is I wonder whether you think this situation is a million miles from you.

I wonder whether you think this situation is a million miles from where we live and the country that we live in as if we have nothing to worry about because we’re reading something that is so weird and so different and so irrelevant that it doesn’t have anything to do with us. We read these incidents, don’t we? In Mark’s Gospel and they are bizarre.

We read similar things in the Book of acts, and it seems like it’s another planet. Well, I was meeting up this week with Andrew Browning, and we’ve heard Andrew Browning is a remarkable man. A surgeon who has now built 67 or eight hospitals in various countries of Africa is training the doctors and the nurses to bring about this wonderful healing for women who have had trouble in childbirth.

And Andrew was saying to me that in the Tanzanian hospital they’d had a number of Tanzanian women women lined up for treatment and were waiting for their surgery and incomes. The local witch doctor, a lady who terrifies these women and says to them, don’t have anything to do with these Christians don’t have anything to do with this church and the women ran and Andrew said it was so sad because here they are in great physical need and they are being scared off by a witch doctor.

So the church got to prayer and God in his wisdom and his genius and power gave this witch doctor lady a fistula of her own. And so she came and joined the queue and sat on the bed looking quite terrified and has been wonderfully healed, loved and gospels and, Andrew said, seems to be a completely transformed woman. But if a witch doctor came into the Royal North Shore Hospital, first of all, nobody would take any notice of the message, and the security of the hospital would just take hold of her and remove her. It is a very different situation that we live in, isn’t it?

But if you think the spiritual battle is absent from our city and from our suburbs because we have no weird dramatic events going on, you really do need to think again.

It is not that we are so sophisticated or clever that we are removed from the spiritual battle. This is what Paul says in Ephesians, Chapter two, describing the person before they actually come to Christ, he says, they’re spiritually dead.

They follow the ruler of disobedience that is the devil. They face the wrath of God, I want you to just reflect on this for a minute. This is so, so important.

The person who does not yet know Christ is spiritually dead follows. The ruler of disobedience faces the wrath of God. No drama, no gimmicks, no witch doctors. Just the spiritual reality of being dead and not following Christ. But actually unbeknown to them following the prince of this world and heading eventually for the wrath of God, if you were the devil, could you do better than that without any fireworks?

Two. Corinthians for describing the person who doesn’t know Christ. Their minds are blinded by the devil. They cannot see the glory of Christ. That’s why there are people even in this building this morning who don’t really see who Christ is because you’re still blind.

You don’t really get what the other believers can see because they, through the mercy of God, have been given sight and light and therefore the most sophisticated man or woman who we know in our life, whose life may be incredibly gifted and impressive. They’re making a fine contribution to their home to their society, to their work to their business is nevertheless, according to the Bible, and this is exactly right, either in the grip of Christ or in the grip of the devil.

They’re either in the light or they’re in darkness there. They’ve either been reborn into eternal life, or they’re still spiritually dead there either heading for heaven or they’re heading for hell. You cannot be in the middle.

We may be seeing in mark Chapter five. You see the battle writ large, but it is just a neon sign telling us that there is a universal spiritual battle, and the people that we live amongst and love and meet in the streets are caught up in a spiritual battle.

They are either captive to the Lord Jesus or captive to the devil. That’s the captive. We need to see people rightly, don’t we? We need to see people with biblical glasses. Otherwise, we’ll just walk around and think I had a little fun time this morning in church. I played my Christian hobby, and now these people in the street are perfectly fine. The Bible says no, everybody belongs to Christ or Satan.

So secondly, the Liberator versus 9 to 13. I want you to notice how Jesus freeze this man with his word because we read in Verse eight that he had been saying Come out. That’s how Jesus does his work. There’s no in Cannes incantation. There’s no spell. There’s no magic. He just speaks. That’s how Jesus does his work. He speaks and does his work. He does his work with the word he told us in Chapter four, didn’t he? That his word is like a seed and it brings a harvest and it’s unstoppable and it’s wonderful. And that’s how he comes the storm by speaking. And that’s how he brings this man free by speaking. And the first thing that Jesus asks this man is his name.

Why does he ask him his name? Well, some people have said I asked him his name because this is what they did with this kind of magic. You know, you asked the name and you get the power over the man.

But no, no, no. Jesus has the power over the man. He doesn’t need to play games with the man. He’s asking the man his name because he is interested in the man. This is personal. This is relationship. He loves the man and the man’s reply comes back that his name is legion. Strange Strange name A legion in Roman times was 5 to 6000 soldiers. So out of the mouth of this man is coming. A voice that says We are thousands and this tortured discussion takes place in verses 9 to 12, where the man keeps speaking and he’s in the singular and then the plural and the singular and the plural, he says. For example, invest nine. My name is legion. We are many, he says in Verse 10. He begged Jesus not to send them away.

And then, in Verse 12, they begged Jesus to be allowed to go into the pigs, and they are speaking out of his mouth. So the man and the demons are in a wrestle in attention. And what’s behind this, of course, it’s very strange to us is that the demons are asking not to be destroyed by Jesus ahead of time.

Scripture tells us in revelation, Chapter 20 that God’s plan is to do away with the devil in his angels at the return of Christ. And so they are asking, Let’s not bring this early.

We don’t want to be destroyed yet and because this fits in with the plans of God, he hears their request and he gives them permission to enter the pigs. And as they enter the pigs, they drive the pigs over the cliff into the sea.

This removes the demons from this world. It removes their influence, so to speak, in this world. But it keeps them for the final judgement, and the herd rushes over the cliffs. And if you’re shocked by the pigs running over the cliff, we’re probably meant to be, because that is a terrible thing to happen to a herd of pigs. And it’s a terrible thing to happen to the business of these workers. But I want you to remember that a man is worth infinitely more than pigs.

If you belong to the I. R. S P. C p. You need to remember that this is telling us again that a person is worth more than animals and because our world is continually telling us that we are just animals. Remember that person saying, Why are the kids in my school behaving like animals? Well, because they’re being told year after year after year that they are animals. But here you see, we are being reminded that the person that God has made is infinitely more valuable than animals. And although our world may exalt the saving of a whale on the beach and then kind of neglect hundreds or thousands being killed or deceived, the Bible puts things right way up.

So here is this amazing thing. Jesus comes into this very dark place, and by the time he leaves, there are two proofs that he is an incredible king. Exhibit A is the man totally transformed. Look at Verse 15. He is seated, dressed and sane. He’s seated because he’s no longer raging around. He’s dressed because he’s now sensible and sociable, and he’s sane because his mind is right back to normal. My old boss in the UK used to say that when Jesus takes over somebody’s life, he makes them normal.

The influence of Jesus on people is to make them normal, and you and I ought to be becoming more normal. Not more weird. That’s Exhibit A. Exhibit B is 2000 pigs are missing. So the presence of a man who has completely changed B the absence of the pigs and these two are important because somebody turned around and said in the future, if somebody in the village turned around and said, Ah, yes, you know, here’s Fred. He used to be very weird and unhappy, but he improved, you know. He came to his senses. We fixed him. No, no, no. 2000 pigs ran over a cliff.

The problem that Fred had was demonic and Mark knows perfectly well how to distinguish between sickness and demons.

So there are two very great Mementos in this village. There is a man who is absolutely transformed. And there is the absence of the pigs. My question again, Very important. Do you think the liver the liberation of this man is light years from what I need and you need. Do you think we’re in a much better position than this man by nature?

Of course, this man was a social nightmare, but and you may be a social success. The incredible fact is that all people need a spiritual deliverance. Every single person needs a spiritual deliverance. We need to see it, and we need to know where to go to fix it.

I was talking with a girl this week Who’s a doctor? She was converted in an Easter sermon, and she was converted as the preacher on Easter Sunday said this sentence, he said, You personally are responsible for the death of Jesus.

And she said as she sat there and she had been to Bible College and she’d been in churches for a long time, she said, it suddenly dawned on her the reality that she had contributed to the death of Jesus. And then she fought back and she said, No, no, no. There are millions of people who contributed to the death of Jesus, so I’m not taking full responsibility. And then the amazing way her mind worked, she said Causing the death of Jesus is an infinite evil, and therefore I cannot measure what I have contributed.

And she said she was completely overwhelmed by this in the kindness of God. And that’s what caused her to lift up her prayer to Jesus, asking for forgiveness and new life. So she saw her need sophisticated, churchy but still spiritually debt.

We also need to recognise the great love that Christ has in being able and willing to free us, of course, the way he freed. This man in Mark five is with the word and that looks really simple. Looks like it doesn’t cost anything. You just say a little word come out.

But actually, you know this man is going to be fully saved because Jesus fully paid.

The reason this man is going to come out of darkness is because Jesus went into the darkness. The reason that this man is going to get new life is because Jesus died. The reason that this man is going to be set free is because Jesus was arrested and crucified. A huge, wonderful price is paid for you and me to be liberated and we need to receive it.

Let’s stop talking and thinking about how we will achieve and do wonderful things. And this will one day chalk up enough points for us to please and impress God. The one thing we need to do is receive what Jesus has done for us and at the cross. He’s done this wonderful, wonderful work of making it possible to be set free. That’s why Ephesians two says, because of his great love, he’s made us alive and God made his light shine or colossians two, he had our guilty list nailed to his cross, and he took away the weapons of the evil powers.

Well, legion, I say again to you is what rescue looks like in dramatic terms. But if you think you need a dramatic case and rescue in order to take Jesus seriously, think again. You need spiritual darkness, which everybody has by nature. And you need spiritual light, which comes by putting your trust in Christ. Unless you move from one to the other, you’re still a captive and still needing a Liberator.

Now, the last thing this morning is the missionary versus 14 to 20 because Jesus changes this man from being a completely hopeless man to being an evangelist. Uh, you see, in verse 14, the news spreads everywhere. Uh, I once went to Lord Howe Island for a week, and on the first day, a small whale had washed up onto the 11 of the beaches, and the radio on Lord Howe Island had nothing to report because nothing happened.

So every hour of every day for seven days, the headline was that a whale has washed up onto a beach at seven o’clock eight o’clock nine o’clock, 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock the next day, seven o’clock, eight o’clock, nine o’clock, exactly the same headline. Nothing had happened.

I wanted to do something to make some headlines. I suspect nothing much happened around the garage scenes, and the fact that I heard of pigs had run over a cliff and a man who was an absolute nuisance and a crazy man had been changed and transformed was very big news, and it spread everywhere.

The reaction is a division. Look at verse 17. The people beg Jesus to leave. Why? Well, they don’t obviously appreciate the rescue he’s brought to the man. They don’t like losing their pigs and especially verse 15. They’re afraid they’re afraid of Jesus, exactly as the disciples back in Chapter four, Verse 41 had been afraid after the storm.

Imagine the disciples sitting there in the boat. The storm has stopped. No more waves, no more wind, really calm and sitting down the end of the boat. The disciples are shivering and shaking with fear because of Jesus.

And here the townspeople are afraid of Jesus, and I asked him to leave now if the people asked him to leave the man himself begs to be allowed to follow. And you would expect at this point Jesus would turn around and say, Great. A complete pagan has decided to become a follower. Yes, come with me and he says No, he says, I’ve got a better plan.

You’re going to go home and you’re going to live in your home area and you’re going to tell people what the Lord has done for you. Very interestingly, the man goes everywhere telling people what Jesus has done for him. It’s going to be safe for this man to preach about Jesus because the Gentiles have no preconceptions and this man can tell them as much as he knows about Jesus.

And here is the first person Jesus ever commissioned to go as an evangelist. A gentile, a demon possessed man is the first missionary Jesus ever commissioned. I remember hearing a story of a girl who wanted to be a missionary, and she was struck down with an illness that required her to stay home and to visit a local hospital on a weekly basis.

And it grieved her that she had lost this opportunity until she suddenly realised after a number of weeks and months that she had shared her faith, the gospel with nurses and doctors and patients so many times that the Lord had simply given her a very accessible mission field.

And here is Jesus, knowing in wisdom what is going to be the best thing for this region. And that is that this man will go home and speak of Christ. Does he have anything to say? Well, he’s not going to be able to share two ways to live is he’s not going to be able to talk about the death and the resurrection of Jesus yet, but he will be able to talk about the fact that he was in the dark and now he’s in the light and he was lost. And now he’s found.

And the difference is because of Jesus. Now friends. Is his message better than mine? Does he have anything more wonderful to say than I do? Does he have anything more wonderful to say than you do? Well, perhaps he’s had a more dramatic conversion, but he hasn’t had a more real conversion, and he hasn’t had a more profound conversion. If you move from the Kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Light, The Kingdom of Christ, you really have moved.

And when you live this week and you think to yourself, you know, my Christian faith is pretty ordinary, and my Christian life is pretty ordinary. I don’t have much to say to anybody.

I hope that you’ll just go back to mark Chapter five, and you’ll remind yourself as you think about this, that if you’ve come to Jesus, there was a time when you were a captive. You’re in the dark. You are blind to the importance of Jesus. You are blind to the the importance of eternal life. The matters of heaven and hell were very, very low down your priority list and in God’s kindness, he’s brought you to put your trust in Jesus. You’ve been brought into the Kingdom of Light. You’ve been brought to eternal life. It’s because of the Liberator, Jesus and his death for you on the cross. And he has now asked you to be a missionary where you are or overseas. He’s asked you to be somebody who, by life and conversation articulates that there has been a change, a very wonderful change. You really have benefited by coming to Jesus. It hasn’t been a destruction, has it? It hasn’t wrecked your life. It’s not as though Jesus has ruined things for you and turned your life completely upside down for the worse.

He has wonderfully blessed you. We need to meditate on this. I was a captive. I have come by God’s kindness, to realise the Liberator, and he’s made me a missionary. That is an amazing transformation. It’s the biggest transformation in the world. It’s bigger than getting married. It’s bigger than becoming a parent. It’s bigger than travelling overseas. It’s bigger than winning prizes. To move from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light is the greatest transformation in eternity, and although we may not feel it is much the Bible tells us it is massive.

So keep thinking about it and thinking of ways that you can articulate to people as you live for him in this world.

Let’s pray

Our father, we thank you that you are so great and gracious that you rescue people from darkness to light from death to life. And you do that through this, the saving work of Christ. We pray our loving father that you would impress upon us what we have received. And we pray that these things would have good effect in us and through us. As we live for you in this world,

We pray it in Jesus’ name, amen.