Chapter 4 of Mark’s Gospel concludes with Jesus calming the wind and sea, which was an awesome display of power upon the natural elements of this world. Chapter 5 begins by a demon possessed man, who lived among the tombs, could not be bound with chains, and who would cut himself and scream.
In 21st century America we scoff at such things as religion, God, demons, angels, and anything outside the realm of the natural, which can be observed through our 5 senses. Modern psychology now explains every problem that resides within men, as if there is no such thing as an eternal soul or a spirit within man. Darwin described the world in terms of what he saw; God in the Bible describes the world both in terms of the known and the unseen. Jesus could look at a man that all others feared greatly and command the problem to come out of him. The problem, in the case of the man of Garasene, was a host of demon spirits who took up residence within his soul and caused him great grief.
References to demons are common in the New Testament; most chapters in the book of Mark make some reference to demons. In chapter 1 a man who was in the synagogue, we do not know for certain but he may have been there for religious worship, when he saw Jesus cried out saying, “"What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are-the Holy One of God!" (v 24). In (v 32) they brought many to Jesus who were demon possessed, in (v 34) He cast out many demons, and He did not permit them to speak. From this verse we understand that demons speak, and the agency by which they speak is man. Sometimes demon spirits would fall down before Jesus, but not all demons are the same, just as not all men are the same. Some are greater in authority and power, some are highly intelligent, and other not so much, but all are intelligent and powerful when compared to men.
What we learn from chapter 5 is that just as Jesus has authority over the natural universe, even so He has the same over the unseen kingdom of darkness. Just as He calmed the storm that raged on the Sea of Galilee, he likewise calmed the storm within the mind, emotions, and will of a man from Garasene. In chapter 1 Jesus healed many of various diseases and he cast out many demons (v 34). In this life there are as many problems as there are people, diseases come in many forms and so does demon possession. Because modern man chooses to be ignorant of these matters that does not mean they do not exist.
Furthermore, Jesus healed a man of leprosy in chapter 1 with the outcome that the man went away and disobeyed the Lord who made him clean – physically. But because he lacked saving faith in Christ who comes to cleanse the soul, he remained disobedient and lost in Spirit. However, concerning a man who was sorely demon possessed and suffering in mind, body, and soul, Jesus said, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you" (v 19). And in response to Jesus’ command we read, “And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed” (v 20). Furthermore, we are told that while the inhabitants of the land begged Jesus to leave, the former demon possessed man was imploring Jesus, so that he might accompany Him (v 17, 18).
In life it is not the specific problem that is the real issue, it is the will of God, the power of Christ, and our faith or lack thereof that really matters. Jesus had mercy on the demon possessed man, which means he had fault and sin. In life we are faced with many evil temptations; we can trust in what is offered through them, which is to reject what is offered in God and His Christ, and that is sin. It is not only doing what is wrong in life that matters, it is also not doing what is right. In either case we exercise faith or we don’t, we move toward God or away. What direction are you headed in?