Demons, Pigs, and Mercy
PRAY: Humbly ask God to give you wisdom to understand this portion of the Bible and the faith to live out what He reveals to you.
READ: Mark 5:1-20
“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!” 8 For He had told him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” (Mark 5:7-8)
Allow me to be the first to admit that any films that venture into the occult, the paranormal, exorcisms— or demons that suddenly convert the good guy into a flame-tongued serpent —scare me! I’m talking grown-lady frightened, sleeping with the lights on scared.
I can possibly stand the television appearance of a homeless drifter who mumbles incessantly and then gets cleaned-up by the collective work of a mission-driven neighborhood. That’s not so scary, and if you get the right message, neither are the works of Jesus. Miracles and the documented accounts of His driving out demons are the central message of Mark 5:1-20.
Jesus, traveling with his disciples, left Israel and traveled to an area known as Gerasenes. As soon as He got out of the boat, the demon possessed man approaches Jesus and greets Him. That must have been one heck of a welcome!
The unclean spirits’ name was Legion, meaning multitudes. That’s how many demons he had within him. Spiritual insight was demonstrated by the unclean spirit who both knew Jesus was the Son of God and “begged” Him to not send them to a place even demons fear. Instead, he asked to be sent among the pigs—two thousand—pigs. My mind goes many places with the visual images of that many pigs being cast away to drown. The eyewitness accounts had to be accurate because Photoshop didn’t yet exist. A legion of pigs were actually driven over the bank and drowned.
What Jesus wants us to fixate on is the unclean spirit and the demons being cast away— not the pigs. It wasn’t an abra cadabra moment by Jesus or spiritual hocus pocus. It was the power of God made manifest by Jesus. Through verses 14-20, the townspeople marveled at the sight of the once demon-possessed man who was now dressed, sitting upright, and in his right mind. They were afraid. The story of the previously demon-possessed man and the pigs was shared throughout the countryside and they begged Jesus to leave their region.
The restored man wanted to go with Jesus, and possibly even be his disciple, but He told him, “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.”
1. Do you ever allow fear to keep you in a place of spiritual unrest?
2. Why do you think the casting out of demons tends to be so controversial?
3. Have you ever fixated on something God did in your life and missed the magnitude of his grace and mercy?
Memorize: Mark 5:19
But He would not let him; instead, He told him, “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.”
This week's devotional is written by Penny Dickerson. Penny is a City Church Owner who serves on our Guest Services Team. She is also a professional journalist.