The Gerasene Demoniac

“Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones” (v. 5).

- Mark 5:1–5

Chaotic winds and rain struck the disciples’ boat on the Sea of Galilee until Jesus brought order and peace to the storm (Mark 4:35–41). As we move into Mark 5 in today’s study, we see chaos emerge as a theme that connects the two chapters. Our Lord’s actions on the boat brought order to chaos in the natural realm—a threatening weather event was brought to an end. As we will see as we examine the story of the Gerasene demoniac, Christ brought chaos to order in the supernatural realm when He exorcised the many evil spirits who possessed the man (5:8–13).

Through His work of ordering the chaotic, our Lord yet again demonstrated His deity. We see throughout Scripture that one of God’s characteristic desires is to take what is confused and disorderly and organize it into something that is coherent and orderly. We see in Genesis 1, for example, that God created everything in heaven and on earth in an orderly fashion. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 14 that orderly worship is what our Maker desires, for “God is not a God of confusion but of peace,” and thus “all things should be done decently and in order” (vv. 33, 40). Jesus did the very thing God does, namely, bringing order to chaos, providing yet more evidence of His deity.

The account of the Gerasene demoniac is likewise notable for how it shows us the goals and motives of Satan. All evil that takes place on our planet can be tied directly or indirectly to the devil, for every act of sin is possible only because he introduced wickedness into creation by rebelling against our Creator. However, demonic possession is a particularly direct and severe work of Satan and his minions. In the case of the Gerasene demoniac, the possession resulted in the man’s not being in his right mind and even in his attempting to harm himself (Mark 5:1–5). The demons were waging an all-out war against this man, but if we pay attention to our biblical theology, we see that this was for a very specific reason. Men and women are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), so we are more like the Creator than anything else in creation is. Satan, of course, cannot bring God down, but He still seethes with hatred toward the Almighty. By attacking and possessing human beings, Satan is attempting to deface the Lord’s image and thereby to strike a blow, albeit indirectly, against God Himself.

Coram Deo

Satan goes after human beings not because we are worthy in ourselves of his attention, but because he hates God. He wants to deface and destroy anything that reflects the Lord. We know, however, that the devil can do no final harm on God’s people. He can throw his worst at us, but if we are united to Christ, God will put Satan finally under our feet.

Passages for Further Study

1 Corinthians 15:49
2 Corinthians 3

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