Power Over Matter and Mind

KEY VERSE: “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” —Mark 5:19


THERE is some question about the place where this miracle was performed because of the variation in spelling in some of the manuscripts. But most authorities believe that it occurred in Gadara, a region beyond Jordan, where there were villages and cities in the area. Jesus, therefore, going into the country of the Gadarenes is said to go into the region of the Gergasenes.

In the Mark and Luke account of this incident there was only one person mentioned as being possessed with devils; however, in the Matthew account there are two mentioned. Most commentators agree that there is not necessarily a discrepancy here, but rather that in the Mark and Luke account note was taken of only the fiercer of the two. The tombs evidently provided an ideal place of isolation for those who were possessed, and they violently opposed any intrusion into their chosen sanctuary. See also Luke 8:26-40 and Matthew 8:28-34.

The account states that when Jesus stepped from the ship, the one possessed seeing him from afar off ran to meet him saying, “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.” (Mark 5:7) The phrase, ‘what have Ito do with thee,’ literally means, ‘what is it to me and to thee.’ This might be understood to mean that the spirits were disclaiming any design to interfere with the work of Jesus, and that he should not therefore meddle with them; for it appears that they were well aware of and exceedingly dreaded the power that Jesus had at his command.

Many manuscripts and translations, including Rotherham, omit the word ‘Jesus’ from the question asked by the fallen angels, and this for a very good reason. The word ‘Jesus’ means ‘savior’ and it seems reasonable that savior was of too ominous an import to the satanic interest to be used freely by any of his minions in such a case. After identifying Jesus, the evil spirit said, “I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not,” and in the Luke account it adds “before the time.”

The Scriptures teach that the evil spirits or demons who obsess some of the human race were once angels—those angels who kept not their first estate (Jude 6), but who in the days of Noah fell from divine favor through sin, and have since been under chains of darkness pending the judgment of the great day, the millennial day. (II Pet. 2:4) At that time, Christ and his church in glory will provide a period of trial and then a judgment not only for mankind, but also to those fallen angels. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world … [and] know ye not that we shall judge angels?” (I Cor. 6:2,3) The demon of our lesson seems to have had the thought that at the advent of Jesus, or the Messiah, all evil was to be abolished and destroyed. The word ‘torment’ means ‘to hasten, punish.’ We know that God would never torture any living creature, but the unrepentant sinner, whether man or angel, will be punished.

The Apostle Peter seems to imply that when the fallen spirits witnessed our Lord’s death on the cross as the sin offering, and his resurrection to divine power and glory, they realized a love of God and a power of God on behalf of humankind that they had not previously appreciated. The thought of God’s mercy to come in due time to man gave hope to some of them that in due time the repentant ones of their number might be recipients of divine mercy through Christ. (I Pet. 3:18-20) This, indeed, we know to be a part of the divine program, for not only fallen men but also fallen angels are to be judged or tried during the kingdom.

Often when Jesus performed a miracle he admonished the one receiving the blessing not to tell anyone. In this instance, however, perhaps because the people of the city were angered by the loss of the swine (Mark 5:13), and had asked Jesus to leave the area, he admonished the one who was cured to go to the city and publish the circumstances of his healing. In this way he would be a witness proclaiming the power of God that would in God’s due time be the means of blessing all the families of the earth.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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