Online-SUNDAY SCHOOL

Bible Studies For Life

Right Here, Right Now                     Session 5                     27 AUG 17

MARK 5:1-5 Jesus is in the latter part of his Galilean ministry. Some say he went only to the Jews. But he went first to the Jews but he also went to the Gentiles. Here he crossed over with his apostles to Gentiles country. The Greek reads “Gerasenes” in Mark 5:1 and “Gadarenes” in Luke 8:26 and the best Greek texts. Is this an error in the Bible? You would say so if you only looked at the translations. We know now that Gerasebes was a little village in the district of the larger city of Gadara. So you could say Fairborn or Dayton depending on how accurate you want to be. No conflict at all. Demons are real because the Bible says so. Demons exist today. Do they do the same things as in Jesus' day? In Jesus' day many diseases were attributed to demons. That does not make it so. Demon possession is different from mental illness. Demons are angels who chose of their own freewill to follow Satan in his bid to defeat the Trinity. A major question is why God allows demons to run the earth. There is no answer from the Bible. Beyond that, why does God allow the freewill of lost humans to come under the forced control of demons? Another we have no answer. We can just say it is so. One thing is absolutely true and sure; no Christian can become demon possessed. Why? Because the indwelling Holy Spirit will not allow it. Remember that until Pentecost, saved people were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. This event shows that multiple demons can possess a person and they do not want to give up control. Since true Christian believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, they may be confronted by demons, but cannot be possessed by them. So when the demon-filled man saw Jesus, the demons went down to play up to Jesus to try and get him not to cast them out.

MARK 5:6-7 In those days people assigned most things bad and most diseases to demons or sin. We know mental illness happened then as now. The Bible tells us demons did indwell lost people on occasion. We can only assume that demons still do so today. In any case Jesus said this man was demon possessed. It was a hard case and the demon made the man extremely strong at times. Dr. H. H. Hobbs in his book an exposition of the gospel of Mark, Baker Book House, 1970, page 81 “There is no reason to believe that the man as such recognized Jesus. But the demons residing in him did. So, in fact, it was they who fell before Jesus. They did recognize Him for who He was. The demons did an amazing thing. This shows that lost people can also know more about Jesus than many Christians and still not be affected by the gospel. Dr. Hobbs further wrote “So the demon put Jesus on oath that He would not begin to torture them.” Imagine that! Recognition and confession of Jesus by demons is significant in Mark's Gospel (cf. 1:24). It is interesting to note the understanding of the demons as opposed to the lack thereof by the disciples. They knew God with the Trinity and that Jesus was the Son of God. The disciples had yet to learn and believe that.

MARK 5:8-13 Certainly there were more than one demon inside the man. But we do not have to say there were 6, 826 men. The word “Legion”, as many words today, took on a meaning beyond its military definition. A Roman legion was composed of 6,000 soldiers. As Dr. Hobbs noted, “The name had come to mean a well-organized group possessing great power.” Jesus granted their request to stay on earth and just move somewhere else. We come to the question as to why Jesus let the demons go into the swineherd and thus destroy the lively hood of the Gentile owner. Again we have no answer. Why did they need to indwell anything living at all? Nobody knows. The only logical reason here seems to be a visual demonstration to the onlookers of the area that the man really had demons in him. It is not unlike when Jesus asked is it easier to say your sins are forgiven or to heal a disease. The answer there rests upon determining if there was a change, results will happen. Forgiveness of sin is not observable. Healing is. Thus it seems that Jesus did the observable thing after he had done the unobservable to show his power to command demons. Here as then, it was to show his divinity by deed and not by word. The people then believed in numerous gods who usually came to hurt humans for their amusement. Rarely did the gods come to help and heal. Jesus showed such God-power, that they all feared him. Naturally they would want this god to leave. Sure, he had helped one man, but he had seemly caused to large herd worth much money to be destroyed. This particular man had been possessed for quite some time. We can say Jesus cared for the man so much that he did what was best to rid the man of the demons. Jesus and the apostles practiced exorcism of demons, as in this passage, but in no case was elaborate ritual used or prolonged discussion with the malignant spirits held. The announcement of the spiritual superiority of Jesus is enough to force evil spirits to flee. This authority came from Jesus’ own being, by his own word.

MARK 5:14-17 Demons are real because the Bible says so. Demons exist today. Do they do the same things as in Jesus' day? In Jesus' day many diseases were attributed to demons. That does not make it so. Demon possession is different from mental illness. Demons are angels who chose of their own freewill to follow Satan in his bid to defeat the Trinity. A major question is why God allows demons to run the earth. There is no answer from the Bible. Beyond that, why does God allow the freewill of lost humans to become under the forced control of demons? Another we have no answer. We can just say it is so. One thing is absolutely true and sure, no Christian can become demon possessed. Why? Because the indwelling Holy Spirit will not allow it. Remember that until Pentecost, saved people were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. This event shows that multiple demons can possess a person and they do not want to give up control. So when the demon-filled man saw Jesus, the demons went down to play up to Jesus to try and get him not to cast them out. We come to the question as to why Jesus let the demons go into the swineherd and thus destroy the lively hood of the Gentile owner. Again we have no answer. Why did they need to indwell anything living at all? Nobody knows. The only logical reason here seems to be a visual demonstration to the onlookers of the area that the man really had demons in him. It is not unlike the previous lesson where Jesus asked is it easier to say your sins are forgiven or to heal a disease. The answer there rests upon determining if a change, a results has happened. Forgiveness of sin is not observable. Healing is. Thus it seems that Jesus did the observable thing after he had done the unobservable to show his power to command demons. Here as then, it was to show his divinity by deed and not by word. The people then believed in numerous gods who usually came to hurt humans for their amusement. Rarely did the gods come to help and heal. Jesus showed such god-power, that they all feared Him. Naturally they would want this god to leave. Sure, He had helped one man, but He had seemly caused to large herd worth much money to be destroyed.

In summary: The hogs went crazy and disappeared one after another into the sea. When the swine owners heard they confronted Jesus face to face. On the way they found the man no longer acting insane. They became more afraid of him than before. The death of the herd and the change in the man was too much. They strongly told Jesus to leave. Why? Because these Gentiles were pagans who feared their gods. Not knowing who Jesus was, they wanted this supposed destructive god to leave them alone. They were insistent and gave Jesus no chance to do more.

MARK 5:18-20 The healed man begged Jesus to let him go with Jesus. Dr. Hobbs, page 83-84 “The Greek text is most vivid. As Jesus was entering the boat, the man began to beg or was begging Him to let him accompany Jesus. This, of course, was a natural reaction…. At any rate Jesus denied his request. He readily granted the request of the people of the area. But in denying the man’s plea He provided him with a greater privilege. “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath compassion on thee” (v. 19).” This man had a unique witness. As Jesus commanded later, (Mat 28:19-20 RSV)  "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."" Dr. Hobbs, page 84 ““To publish” renders a present infinitive of the verb to hear or to preach. Immediately he began and continued to do so. Not only to his own family but to the entire region of the Decapolis. Probably he was widely known as a madman. It is no wonder that everyone who heard him marveled at his message. Jesus left the region of Gerasa never to return insofar as the record shows. But He left a powerful witness behind.” Jesus could have forced the people to let him stay. But God cannot force anyone to repent and have saving Greek belief. He does not want demon witnesses. Our witness has to go to as many people as possible so they can have an example of what the Holy Spirit can do with a growing saved person. Jesus cared and cares for us. We should and are to extend that care to the lost. The man wanted to come with Jesus. He owned all that he now was to Jesus. But Jesus said no. It was more important for him to witness to [Greek] “friends and family.” This reminds us of (Luke 16:29-31 RSV) "But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' {30} And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' {31} He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'" So the man began to broadcast his witness in the Ten City area. He told of “how great things Jesus had done for him.” The “things” were practical and others could relate to them. This is a witness at its best. Tell what Jesus has done for you, not for others. So he because a pseudo-evangelist to these Gentiles. He had little or no knowledge of Jewish theology. But he went and told what he knew personally. The people (Greek) “wondered without understanding” at his witness. But this does not make him a failure. The response to the witness is not up to the witness. It is a personal matter. We are commanded to witness regardless of what is the lost world’s response.

But we would expect the demon unpossessed man to think differently. He was not in control of himself. Naturally he would want to go with Jesus if for no other reason for protection against another demon possession. Jesus would not allow this. He called the man to be a home missionary to his people. We may fairly assume that there was another reason he wanted to go with Jesus. The man apparently had repented of his sins and had made Jesus his Lord. Note what Jesus said to him: "tell them how great things the Lord had done for thee…" Is this one of the rare times Jesus called himself Lord? Some can argue Jesus could have meant that God had worked through him and he himself was not claiming to be the cause. Either way it was Jesus who was the one administering the power. Jesus was Holy Spirit indwelt. The Holy Spirit most probably did provide the power to force the demons out. This does not decrease the divinity of Jesus. To the Jews "Lord" meant God. Anyway you cut it, it was the power of the Trinity that made it happen. An another important point comes from the Greek. As Dr. Herschel H. Hobbs in his book an exposition of the gospel of Mark, Baker Book, 1970, page 84 wrote: "And the perfect tense of the verb "hath done" shows how thoroughly the man was freed from demons." So Jesus made sure the man knew he had nothing to fear about demons returning to possess him. When Jesus calls to a specific service he does the same for each he calls today. No Christian has any reason to fear spiritual hurt by doing service to Jesus. (Eph 1:13-14 RSV)  "In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, {14} which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." While this man was not Holy Spirit indwelt yet, he did enjoy the spiritual protection of the Holy Spirit. He proved to be what Dr. Hobbs called "a powerful witness."

MARK 6:6b-12 Jesus was rejected in his own hometown. So he went into the countryside (suburbs) with his gospel of God. He called the twelve Apostles (including Judas) and again gave them (apparently time-and-task-limited power to control and cast out demons. Under Jewish law two witnessed could establish the truth. "Send" is the Greek 649. apostello, ap-os-tel'-lo; from G575 and G4724; set apart, i.e. (by impl.) to send out (prop. on a mission) lit. or fig.:--put in, send (away, forth, out), set [at liberty]. We get the word Apostle from it. Jesus sent them without any means of self-support. They were to get their living from the people who accepted their message of repentance. When people rejected then they were to "shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them." In that day such an action was taken to mean God would do a judgment against the people. This did not mean they would never get another chance to repent. It was to be a sign to them that the Apostles' message was serious business.

MARK 6:13 Note that "They" includes Judas who cast out demons along with the other eleven. He and they also healed many sick.

MARK 6:30-31 After the mission trip, the Apostles made a complete report to Jesus. Note carefully that Jesus directed a time to recover. (Mark 6:31 RSV)  "And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat." This is a lesson that too many do not learn. Rightly so the gospel message is taken to be serious business and the souls of the lost are at risk. But Jesus never commands that people burn themselves out and eliminate any personal life for themselves. The call to service is not a call to self-elimination. "Rest" here is 373. anapauo, an-ap-ov'-o; from G303 and G3973; (reflex.) to repose (lit. or fig. [be exempt], remain); by impl. to refresh:--take ease, refresh, (give, take) rest. "Rest a while" means a short rest and not a permanent rest. Physical wellbeing is an essential part of any call to service. Who in their right mind will easily respond to a call that seems to be killing the one making the call?

When is right here, right now? Jesus' call to service is a primary call in the life of a Christian, but it is not the only thing in life. Jesus himself needed physical rest to recover his mental and spiritual strength and clarity. If one is too busy to give a proper life experience to his/her family, that Christian is just too busy. The marriage live is also vital in importance to God. That is why Paul said he had an advantage being single. He did not need to divide his time. But he also made it clear that being married and dividing one's time properly has God's blessing as much as a single person with an exclusive drive for the call. Look at Peter and how Paul defended Peter's right to be married. In either case, rest is still to be done as needed.

However, doing MATT 28:19-20 is other primary service to our Lord!

 

Marvin Ganote, Hobbs Study Class, Adult Teacher. ganotemd@outlook.com Home Page: http://dma1.org/~ganotemd/lesson.htm