“And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.’ For he was saying to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’” - Mark 5:6-8
Last week, we saw Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, lay himself low before Jesus. This week, another mighty man fell prostrate before him. This time, it was not a pillar of society but a pariah. His was a very different manifestation of power, as it came from the demons dwelling within him. This man could not direct or command the power; rather, the power controlled and commanded him. Think of the phrase “out of control.” The demoniac experienced that overwhelming sense of incapacity every moment of every day.
It is interesting, and telling, that the same demons who asserted such power over the poor man immediately submitted to Jesus. One moment, they were wreaking havoc and the next they were bowing. Why would demons do such a thing? Though they opposed Jesus, they knew who he was, and they recognized his authority. Notice how they addressed him: “Jesus, Son of the Most High God” (Mark 5:7). At this point, the demons understood Jesus much better than his own disciples did!
Not only did the demons recognize who Jesus was, but they acknowledged his power over them: “What have you to do with me?” (Mark 5:7). They understood the eschatological judgement that is still to come. They knew they would ultimately be destroyed, that they were only allowed power on this earth until the final judgement. The demons were questioning Jesus’ timing. The day of judgment had not yet arrived, and it seemed premature for the Son of God to bind and destroy them now.
As we have seen, Jesus does not work according to man’s schedule, and he certainly does not follow Satan’s itinerary. Jesus adheres only to God’s plan and timing. The Father and the Son abhor the enemy’s oppression of their children, and Jesus came to break those chains. Isaiah foretold this day: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). Jesus would claim victory over anything that held his children captive: demons, disease, paralysis, and even death.
Many people proclaim their belief in who Jesus is and call it a day, thinking they have ensured their salvation. However, as James (Jesus’ brother) points out, that is not enough: “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!” (James 2:19). We are called, not just to believe, but to live out that faith and be transformed by it. We must recognize that there is absolutely nothing we can do to save ourselves and then surrender to and rely on the power of Jesus.
Reflect and Respond:
Are you willing to recognize your desperate situation and to place your full hope and faith in the saving power and work of Jesus Christ? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Could you use some hope right now? Join Peter’s first audience—“elect exiles” undergoing persecution—and experience the apostle’s powerful call to follow Jesus in the midst of life’s challenges, knowing your Living Hope is not a distant one, but a daily, glorious, life-giving reality! This unique six-week study, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, helps you uncover the priceless promises written specifically to the struggling and the hurting, with pastoral gentleness and bold confidence for the future. This study of 1 Peter will help you become utterly convinced that Jesus is the only sure, true, incorruptible, and permanent hope for you.
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