“And Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied, ‘My name is Legion, for we are many.’ And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country.” - Mark 5:9-10
There are many interesting conversations recorded in the Bible, but this one is especially fascinating. The demoniac was racing down the hill towards Jesus and the disciples, ready to attack his new prey. Then, something unexpected happened: instead of attacking, the man collapsed. The very powers that drove him to hurt others and himself were suddenly impotent. They fell before Jesus and cried out: “I adjure you by God, do not torment me” (Mark 5:7). Jesus was in the middle of casting out the unclean spirit when he paused and entered into this most unusual conversation.
“What is your name?” The answer is even more unexpected than the question. Legion was a Roman military term for a unit of 6,000 troops. This concept would have been familiar in Jesus’ day but, in this context, it was shocking. This man was not possessed by one demon or even a little band of them; a multitude of demons had established a fortress within him. No wonder he had no control over himself or his actions! He was completely overpowered. No wonder the terrified townspeople had been unable to restrain him; they, too, were overpowered.
Jesus, on the other hand, was not. One man had full authority, even over a legion of demons. Knowing they were outmatched, they begged Jesus not to send them out of the country. Apparently, demons are territorial. They had established a sphere of influence in this man and across the surrounding land. So, what would become of them, of their domain, and their power? Only Jesus could and would decide their fate.
While we don’t see many demoniacs roaming the tombs today, we certainly see plenty of evil powers seeking to assert their influence. Unfortunately, it is not always as blatant or obvious as it is in this narrative. Sometimes it is the preacher abusing his authority and preaching something contrary to the truth of God. It is the authority figure who leads the children astray from the love and goodness of God through abuse or neglect. It is the education systems that deny the existence and work of God. There are many powerful forces in this world set against the kingdom of God. We must have eyes to see them, minds to discern their ways, and faith in the one who has authority over each and every one of them.
Discerning between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of dark requires the enlightening work of the Holy Spirit. May we allow that Spirit of Truth to do his mighty work in us so that we can resist the work of Satan and his legions.
Reflect and Respond:
Have you considered Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14)? How might the Lord be calling you to recognize the work of Satan in this world and to stand against it in the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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