Lesson 23

The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

5:1 They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 5:2 When he had come out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 5:3 who had his dwelling in the tombs. Nobody could bind him any more, not even with chains, 5:4 because he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him, and the fetters broken in pieces. Nobody had the strength to tame him. 5:5 Always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones. 5:6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and bowed down to him, 5:7 and crying out with a loud voice, he said, "What have I to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, don't torment me." 5:8 For he said to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!"

5:9 He asked him, "What is your name?"

He said to him, "My name is Legion, for we are many." 5:10 He begged him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 5:11 Now there was on the mountainside a great herd of pigs feeding. 5:12 All the demons begged him, saying, "Send us into the pigs, that we may enter into them."

5:13 At once Jesus gave them permission. The unclean spirits came out and entered into the pigs. The herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and they were drowned in the sea. 5:14 Those who fed them fled, and told it in the city and in the country.

The people came to see what it was that had happened. 5:15 They came to Jesus, and saw him who was possessed by demons sitting, clothed, and in his right mind, even him who had the legion; and they were afraid. 5:16 Those who saw it declared to them how it happened to him who was possessed by demons, and about the pigs. 5:17 They began to beg him to depart from their borders.

5:18 As he was entering into the boat, he who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. 5:19 He didn't allow him, but said to him, "Go to your house, to your friends, and tell them how the Lord has done great things for you, and how he had mercy on you."

5:20 He went his way, and began to proclaim in Decapolis how Jesus had done great things for him, and everyone marveled.  

Today's Lesson 

Jesus had left the Jewish area of Galilee because of the multitude of people that had surrounded Him who were looking for miracles.  The idea was to get away for a while with His disciples, probably so that He could spend more time teaching them. During the trip they are caught in the middle of the lake in a storm. After they wake Jesus, He calms the sea and they proceed to the other side of the lake. The event that is recorded in Today's Scripture is what happens when Jesus and His disciples reach the predominately Gentile area.


As Jesus gets off of the boat, a man who is possessed by an unclean spirit races up to Him and throws himself at the feet of Jesus. He cries out before Jesus and calls Him "Son of the Most High God." Jesus begins to cast out the demon from this poor man and he cries out begging Jesus not to torment him. After an interesting exchange concerning the name of the unclean spirit, the spirits are cast out and sent into a herd of pigs, which promptly threw themselves into the sea.


Mark takes a lot of time on this story. There are many details with the feeling of a first-hand account. But, what is Mark's purpose behind this story? This story is different from other exorcism stories in the gospels for several reasons. First, the event takes place in a Gentile area and the man who has the unclean spirit is most likely a Gentile. There were many Gentiles in Galilee, but even in Galilee where things were more lax, Gentiles tended to live in one area and Jews in another. Second, the man seems to have been possessed by multiple spirits. We are to conclude that this event was a greater demonstration of the power of Jesus Christ over a more aggressive and more numerous spiritual enemy.


There are many lessons that we can draw from this event. The most significant might be what Jesus instructed the man to do after cleansing him. "Go to your house, to your friends, and tell them how the Lord has done great things for you and how he had mercy on you." We are to be witnesses of God's mercy and His grace to the world around us. This means that we are to take the message of what God has done for us and tell it to the world in which we live. We are to live out the redeemed life for all of our friends and family to see. That is the message that we can take from this story and that is the way that we should live our own lives.


Do you remember the great things that God has done for you? Do you remember His mercy in calling you? Who have you told about it lately?


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