The Way of Power
Power: This is my phone. This little thing has more power and ability than the computer that sent the first space shuttle to the moon. It can tell me where I am at, how to get places, connect me to people all over the world, in seconds I can find useless information like what is the square root of 0, and who won the first Super bowl, what year did the Beatles come out with Abbey Road. It also has the ability to tell my location, buying trends, and important information to all other interested parties on the face of the earth, but that is another point. It is powerful, but this past weekend I went out of town for a bit and I forgot my charger. If this thing is not plugged into a power source, it dies. It is useless. It’s of no more value than a piece of wood or rock.
Power is essential for it. We need power to follow Jesus, and there is power in following him.
-And we are told God has all power.
[so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. (1Peter 4:11 CSB)
-The gospel is known
[For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16 CSB)
-We are reminded that…
[For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2Timothy 1:7 NIV)
Jesus’ disciple’s did not live like their relationship with Jesus was one with a dead battery. Even when he gave them what they did not want, they embraced it as his plan for them and with great purpose. If we are going to live for Jesus it will entail knowing the power that is in him. Some may be tapping on Jesus like he is dead, but the problem is you have no connection.
The disciples lived their lives in light of the empowering work of the holy spirit. It was a way of life.
We are looking at a passage today that shows Jesus has power. Jesus has been teaching around the Sea of Galilee and in 4:35 decides to take his disciples to the other side of the sea. While going across they encounter a storm and Jesus rebukes the wind and waves. HIs disciples are filled with fear asking who is this that even the wind and waves obey him!?
In this passage we see the power Jesus has over the demonic strongholds, and we must turn to him for healing.
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 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. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the pigs, and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and were drowned in the sea. 14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. (Mark 5:1-20 ESV)
- A Ruined Life
As soon as they arrive in this region they are met by a man with an unclean spirit. The evil spirits know more than others. They know something or someone special has entered their area.
This man has been relegated to the parts of society no one else wants. He is living among the tombs. Living in a graveyard. Not my favorite place to sleep. V15 we are told he is clothed and in his right mind, so when Jesus met him the man was presumably naked and not in his right mind.
5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.
Pain. When you went by this area, regardless of day or night time you would hear him crying out, in pain and torment. Certainly a fearful sound among the tombs and hillside.
Cutting himself. I have been reading this passage at the detox center. I asked them, why is he cutting himself. People said, “he wants to feel something,” “he wants his outside to match his inside,” “he doesn’t like himself and who he is.” The nature of the enemy is to destroy us, sometimes he drives people mad so they destroy themselves.
Broken chains. No one can fix him. The best attempts have failed. No one can heal him. In fact, they have given up on healing him. They are just trying to bind him so he does not hurt himself or others. And yet he is as strong as he is crazy. He wrenched the chains. Simply broke them like they were nothing.
This man by all accounts is lost. There’s nothing more society can do for him. Just push him to the fringe of society. Remove him. Addictions. Most of the people there say they feel like a failure, feel like they don’t belong, cut off, embarrassed.
Jesus does not tell him to get his act together and then he will work with him. Doesn’t say get your hat on right, pull up your britches, tuck in your shirt, say yes Maam and no Maam. He meets him where he is at. What grace! How do you approach broken people. Do you require they get their act together? Maybe get mad because they do not do what you want. Jesus interacts with him, loves him, moves towards him. I’ve seen some people having a bad day that I didn’t want to be around but at least they had clothes on. Jesus came to you in your mess. Will you show that same grace to others?
Would you go to this guy? Would you go to help this person? Would you believe our Lord could heal and change him.
Jesus goes to him. You may have to ask yourself why would Jesus even be in this place. This is the Savior of the world. But we have seen he did not come for the healthy but the sick. This man is sick. His life has been destroyed.
- Demonic Intent
Many issues with this man. One of the most pressing is he has an unclean spirit in him, a defiling spirit.
Marks most spectacular exorcism.
[“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 5:7 CSB)
He recognizes who Jesus is. At a time in Jesus ministry when many people didn’t know who he was, the demons know.
[You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder! (Jam 2:19 ESV)
Demons know Jesus, but they don’t follow him. That is the spirit of our time.
V8 imperfect tense. Jesus was speaking to the unclean spirit come out of him. The possibility of “Jesus’ success in healing and exorcism, while never in doubt, was not always as instant as most of the narrative suggests.” v9 he was asking the man his name. The man was begging him not to torture.” These verbs show this was an ongoing thing. Jesus didn’t immediately get his name.
Jesus interacts with the man. He is not possessed by one demon or two, but by a legion. Evil spirits are real. We are spiritual beings and what we allow into our hearts, and minds and souls has a real effect. This man clearly stopped fighting to think rightly about the world, himself, and God. He resorted to other ideas, ideologies, and sources of help. Enticed and led astray.
This man assumes Jesus has authority, but also that he is hostile to him. That he has come to torture them. He is not in his right mind. He comes to Jesus and says who he is, but he doesn’t necessarily want Jesus around.
His life is ruined by these unclean spirits, but in v10 he does not want them to leave the area. He is begging Jesus for that. It doesn’t make sense. That is what the demonic does.
We see the true intent of the demonic in the destruction of the pigs. They enter and are not restrained. They rush to their death.
The demonic may entice you to think its path is better than the path God has. Leading you to believe that it will bring a greater profit than anything else.
The work of Satan is to destroy, and he does that by causing confusion and doubt on God’s word and ways. When that happens he has power over you.
- When he lures you to think going against God’s commands is better than following them. *Satan shows you the bait and hides the hook.* Thomas Boston. He makes things seem like they bring freedom when it brings slavery. Cutting will make you better. Hiding. That destroying your body will make things better. Not true. God created your body and all its blemishes for his purpose.
- When he makes you think Jesus and his people, his church, are only there to torment you and not to heal you. When he makes you think you will not be accepted but only chastised and wounded.
- When he gets you to think you will be healed by cutting, altering, destroying your body and self, rather than resting your imperfections and shortcomings on to Christ. Self mutilation. Self-penance.
- Isolate rather than come into community
- Punish rather than trust.
- Oppress rather than bless
It will destroy you. But Jesus set you free. Turn to him. Trust in him. I don’t know anyone in a worse position. Kept digging a bigger and bigger hole until you have an army of demons living in you. And Jesus fixes the man. He can heal.
There is power in the name of Jesus. Satan scheming and part of his schemes is to be quiet. Make you think he is not there. Make it seem you are too sophisticated. Beyond being spiritual. That you can do things with no consequnce. That it is your right. I think there is a blinding going on
One of the guys in the detox center was struggling with addiction because of a broken relationship with a parent. He so wanted their approval and affection and never got it. He felt abandoned because work was more important. He felt he had no purpose in life, felt he was worthless and turned to drugs to fill the void and numb the pain.
Jesus has power over the demon. Trust in him. We can pray for people. If we know Jesus we can share with people how to overcome. We are not Jesus, but we point people to him. Satan is conquered through faith in Jesus. Faith and repentance is what we offer to people. Don’t need to know the names of demons or anything else.
*Faith in Jesus means you stop punishing yourself and give your troubles/inadequacies to Jesus.
Power in letting things go. Power in keeping them in and holding back what God calls you to give to him.
Jesus is Lord.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (Jam 4:7 NIV)
“Jesus I submit to you.” “Jesus you are my Lord.” That battle cry that Satan cannot stand against.
Jesus has power over the demons, Even a legion of them. Jesus is the savior. He can deliver us from what we fear, what we need. But you have to let it go. Stop holding on to what is killing you!
We can be accepted. There is power in knowing this. Even when you are naked, removed from society, . That is powerful. Others may not accept you but Jesus does.
Do you know you can be forgiven for your mistakes? You can be healed. All the cutting. All the running. All the fear.
Is your mind confused? Jesus can heal you. He can make you whole. His word gives you wisdom and knowledge.
Power over strongholds. Perfection. Performance.
Do you love your kids because they are your kids or because of how well they have done. Is your love contingent on anything.
- Return to Home
[“Go back 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.” (Mar 5:19 CSB)
Jesus restores the man. *Power. Spiritually. Mentally. Emotionally. Socially… restored. The people see him in his right mind and they are afraid.
After seeing this healing and exorcism, the people of the town beg Jesus to leave. May not be what you would expect. He has completely delivered him. But they saw their livelihood destroyed. Power that was beyond their control. A power that challenged their idols, maybe their own demons.
The man being demon possessed begs to go with Jesus.
The people of the town didn’t want Jesus around. They are scared.
This man who was at one time crying in agony now has good news to share with others.
This one went to tell others what Jesus has done for him. Jesus would not let him go with him. Isn’t that funny? You don’t always get to do what you want. But God still has a good purpose. Do you know God may tell you “No.” Do you know it is OK. It is more than OK. If Jesus tells you know, then that is best.
Jesus has the power to demolish strongholds and footholds. Stronghold is a fortified and well built bunker. Foothold is a place to put your foot for a little support so you can climb a little higher.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. (Eph 4:26-27 NIV)
Footholds are temporary, but lead to an increased positioning. You build on those. Footholds become strongholds. The more you rely on them the more they solidify.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Th 5:23 CSB)
We experience that power when we are plugged into God’s purposes. Power to overcome.
Are we longing to see this? People are raging against God and his ways. Do we believe there is power in Jesus? Power to change? There is a growing movement to put down people of faith and the ability to live the Christian life. Are you praying for Jesus’ power to intervene in peoples lives?