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THE CASE OF A MAN NAMED LEGION
Intro: This text sits in the middle of several hopeless situations. Just prior to the events we just read, Jesus and His disciples were sailing the Sea of Galilee when a tremendous storm overwhelmed their boat. The disciples were certain that they were going to die, Mark 4:38. Those men were seasoned fishermen, but they were helpless to solve their problem. In their minds, they were in a hopeless situation. While that storm far exceeded their own abilities, it posed no problem for the Master of the Sea. He calmed the storm and He calmed His men.
In this chapter, Jesus moves into a new set of impossible situations. He encounters a man possessed by thousands of demons. This poor, demon possessed manis in a desperate situation, he is unable help himself, and the people around him are powerless to help him as well. After this incident, Jesus will deal with a diseased woman and a dead girl. All four of these situations were hopeless from a human perspective. Yet, in each of these cases, Jesus proved that He was the Master of them all.
If that demon possessed man were alive today, he would be sent to live in a mental institution. That diseased woman would be sent to terminal care ward. The dead girl would be sent to the cemetery. This passage teaches us that whether He is faced with demons, disease, or death, Jesus is able to handle whatever comes His way.
• I want to take a trip to an cemetery today.
• I want to watch the Lord do what no one else could do.
• I want to watch Him set a captive free. I want to watch Him change a life.
• I want to watch Him change a soul.
• I want to see His divine, sovereign power on display.
• I want to see how Jesus handles this hopeless case.
This case really is hopeless. Everyone around him have done everything they possibly could to help him, but no one could reach him. He lived his life in isolation, desperation, and devastation. His only companions were the dead bodies in the cemetery and the demons that dwelt within him. When Jesus Christ walked into this hopeless case, He changed everything.
As we watch the Lord Jesus work in this hopeless case, we need to keep in mind that He can move in our lives with the same power. He can break the chains that bind us and He can set us free! I would like for us to examine The Case Of A Man Named Legion. Notice the facts of this hopeless case with me today.
I. v. 1-5 LET’S TALK ABOUT A SAVAGE MAN
A. v. 2 His Problem – This passage opens, with a description of a man who is firmly held in Satan’s grasp. The devil is his master, and this man is in a state of utter hopelessness and absolute helplessness.
We are told that he has “an unclean spirit”! Then, we find out that he is not just the home to one foul spirit, but he is possessed by “a legion” of demons, v. 9. A legion in the Roman army could be anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 men. This man was the host for thousands of evil spirits. In v. 13, we are told that when the demons were forced to leave this man’s body, they entered into a herd of swine that numbered around 2,000! This poor, pitiful individual was totally under the control of the devil!
By the way, demon possession is a real phenomenon. It was very prevalent while the Lord Jesus walked the earth. There are many in our world today who are demon possessed.
I would just remind you that this man’s situation is no different from that of every lost soul in the world today, Eph. 2:1-3; John 8:44.
This man was in a pitiful shape, and so are the lost. They are all in a state of defilement. That is a horrible state to be in.
B. v. 3-4 His Pain – Two words describe this man’s condition. Those words are “tombs” and “chains.” Those words reveal the truth that is man had his dwelling among the dead. The demons that controlled him drove him away from the living and he spent his life in the cemetery.
In those days, people were not usually buried in the ground. Tombs were carved into the hillsides and the bodies were placed there. Because of the demons within, this man spent his time with the bones and the decaying corpses of the dead.
We are told in verse 4 that the people around him tried their best to restrain him. They would catch him and bind him with “fetters and chains”. “Fetters” would have been attached to his feet. “Chains” would have bound his hands, his arms and his torso. But, these manmade devices could not hold him. He broke them apart as easily as a child tears a piece of paper.
When we look at this poor soul, it isn’t hard to make the leap from his condition to the condition of the lost around us. They are trapped in the same state of pitiful depravity. The sin that possesses the heart of the lost sinner drives him to spend his days and waste his years with the dead. Those who are lost in sin have no desire to be around the living. Death and the works of deadness are all they care about!
The lost hate things that pertain to life. They hate things that pertain to light. They hate everything that has to do with God and His work in the world. They shun the light. They shun the things of God. They shun those who know God, preferring rather to live their lives in the relentless, merciless grip of death and darkness.
• Of course, man has his ways of seeking to conquer and cure the problems that plague humanity.
• Man builds jails, prisons, institutions and asylums to hold those who manifest the outward signs of inward death.
• Man promotes pills, potions, and psychology as the answer to man’s dilemma.
• The problem with man’s efforts to cure his own depravity is that man’s efforts only treat the symptoms.
• Man’s efforts can never treat the cause of man’s condition.
• If man is going to ever get the help he needs, he must get that help from the Lord.
• The lost act like they acts and do what they do because they are sinners!
• Lost people choose darkness over light because they hate the light, John 3:19-21.
• Lost people choose sin over the Savior because they are evil and totally given over to the pursuit of evil, Rom. 3:10-23.
• Let me add that a professing believer needs to examine his or her heart when they begin to desire the works of darkness.
• You need to look at your spiritual condition when you find reasons for avoiding the light!
• When you can’t sit through a preaching service, you have a spiritual problem!
• When you find reasons to avoid the house of God, you have a spiritual problem!
• When you find yourself longing for the ways of the world, you have a spiritual problem!
• You are beginning to revert back to the ways of death and darkness.
• That is a very dangerous place to be!
C. v. 5 His Powerlessness – Can you imagine the terror this man caused?
• He is living among those tombs.
• He is naked.
• He runs around like a wild man day and night.
• He cuts himself with rocks.
• His body is covered with blood and scars.
• He is filthy.
• He smells.
• He is terrifying to all who see him.
• He screams and yells in his torment.
• We do not know why this man cut himself. Perhaps it was an effort to find relief from his demons. Perhaps the demons forced him to do it, causing him to walk a path of self-destruction.
• We do not know why he shrieked, screamed and cried in those tombs. Perhaps he did these things because he was desperate to be free. Perhaps he did them because he was compelled to do them.
• We don’t why he did the things he did, but his actions reveal that he is in a desperate situation and he needs help!
Whether you are lost and bound in sin or whether you are saved and out of God’s will there is only one cure for your condition!
• You do not need a pill.
• You do not need a psychiatrist.
• You do not need a priest.
• You do not need a twelve step program.
• You need Jesus!
• He is the antidote for the poison of sin!
• He is the cure for your condition!
• He is the solution to your problem!
Such is this man’s desperate, wretched condition! It is horrible! Yet, his could be laid like a template over billions of others. There are people in this room, this city and county who are defiled, depraved and desperate! There are billions in this world just like this poor man. They might not be as wild and as wicked as this man, but they need help. They need Someone far more powerful than they are to set them free. There is only one place where they can the help they need. This text tells us about Him, and His name is Jesus!
I. Let’s Talk About A Savage Man
II. v. 6-13 LET’S TALK ABOUT A SAVING MAN
A. v. 6 His Compassion – Everyone in that region feared this man. They fled in terror when he came near. They trembled in their houses at the sound of his shrieks of torment. Children were warned to beware of that crazy man in the cemetery. Everyone avoided this man. Everyone, that is, but Jesus!
Jesus Christ did not avoid this man; He made a special trip across the sea and braved a storm simply because He wanted to deliver this one man from the grip of Satan, Mark 4:35.
Everyone else feared, avoided and despised this man; Jesus had compassion on him! Jesus cared about the condition he was in and Jesus was moved to do something about it! This man wasn’t even a Jew! He was a Gentile and still the Lord reached out to him!
Thank God for the boundless love and endless compassion of the Savior! Praise the Lord, there are no hopeless cases with Him!
We see people and sometimes we think that some are a lost cause. We may wonder if they can or will be saved. Well, I can’t tell you for sure that they will be, but I can look around this very room and I see case after case of men and women that others had written off as a lost cause. You are here and saved today because the Savior had compassion on you!
He loved you in spite of your sins and He came to where you were to deliver you from the bondage that gripped your heart and life. He loved you enough to die for you on the cross, Rom. 5:6-8, and He loved you enough to come and set you free.
• No one is beyond the compassionate touch of the Master!
• Not Zaccheaus in his tree.
• Not Saul of Tarsus with his agenda of hate and destruction.
• Not the Ethiopian eunuch with his religious confusion.
• And not even you with all the baggage you carry.
• There is a compassionate Savior waiting to set you free!
Jesus sees people with a different set of eyes than we do! We see their sins, He sees what He can make of their lives!
• We see a drunk, He sees a deacon!
• We see a drug addict, He sees a preacher!
• We see a harlot, He sees a choir member!
That is how lives are changed when they come to Jesus! He will take what you give Him and He will give you something much more precious in return!
• Give Jesus your crab apple; He'll give you back a golden delicious.
• Give Jesus your thorn; He'll give you back an American rose.
• Give Jesus your acorn; He'll give you back a mighty oak.
• Give Jesus your Jacob, the schemer; He'll give you back an Israel, a prince with God.
• Give Jesus your Simon, the cursing fisherman; He'll give you back Simon Peter, a mighty preacher.
• Give Jesus your Saul, persecutor of the church, He'll give you back Paul, militant missionary apostle. Give Jesus your self, and you will be amazed at what He can do with you.
• It is amazing what Jesus can do when a life is placed in His hands, 2 Cor. 5:17! That is the power of the new birth, John 3:3, 7.
B. v. 6-13 His Confrontation – This man, who ran from everyone else, ran to the Lord Jesus and fell at His feet. The demons that drove this man away from all human relationships drove him to the feet of Jesus.
Why? They did not fall down before Jesus to worship Him as Lord; they fell down in acknowledgement of His deity. They were bowing in subjection to the Lord of Lords!
• Jesus confronts the demons, ordering them to release their captive, v. 8.
• The demons acknowledge the deity and authority of Jesus, v. 7, and they beg Him not to “torment” them. That is, they beg Him not to send them to Hell, Luke 8:31.
• The demons then request that they might be allowed to enter into a heard of swine that was feeding nearby, v. 11-12.
• Jesus gives them permission and they leave the body of the man and enter the swine, v. 13.
• When they do, the swine cannot tolerate the demons and kill themselves by running in to the sea, v. 13.
This is a strange passage, but it teaches us some important truths.
• It teaches us that all spirits are subject to the Lord’s authority. They recognize His position and His authority, v. 7. They know they must have His permission to do the things they do, v. 10-13. Jesus is the Master even of the demons! That gives us hope today! It often looks like the devil is walking off with the victory. If you think that, then you need to read Rev. 20:10. That verse tells us that Satan will be cast into the lake of fire. This war is over and Jesus is the Victor!
• This passage also teaches us that man is the most depraved creature in existence. This one man could tolerate a “legion” of demons, v. 9. A Roman legion consisted of around 6,000 soldiers! If you do the math, there were 2,000 swine in that herd. That comes out to three demons per pig. They couldn’t tolerate the presence of the devil and they committed “suey-cide”. Those pigs couldn’t stand just a few demons, yet this man was able to live with thousands. This just illustrates the human capacity for evil!
C. v. 13 His Command – Every human effort had failed to deliver this poor soul from his bondage. Everything that had been tried to help him regain a grip on his own sanity had proven useless. But, one word from Jesus and He was free!
That is the glory of God’s salvation!
• Man can try his religious works, but they will all fail to save, Eph. 2:8-9.
• Man can try his psychological shenanigans, but they will never convert the sinner’s heart.
• Man can try his pills, his potions, his programs, and his practices, but they will never save a single soul from Hell.
• There is one solution to the problem of sin and His name is Jesus!
• There is only one hope for the fallen soul and His name is Jesus!
• There is only one hope for those trapped in a life of sin and hopes name is Jesus, John 14:6; John 6:37.
• One word from Him and death is swallowed up in life!
• One word from Him and darkness is driven away by the light!
• One word from Him and Satan loses his grip on the lost soul!
• One word from Him and sin loses its power to control the sinner!
• One word from Him and the captive is set free!
• One word from Him and sin is forgiven forever!
• One word from Him and a life is changed!
• One word from Him and a son of Adam becomes a child of God!
• One word from Him and the sinner is saved!
• That’s why Jesus is a good man to know!
I. Let’s Talk About A Savage Man
II. Let’s Talk About A Saving Man
III. v. 14-20 LET’S TALK ABOUT A SALVATION MIRACLE
A. v. 14-16 This Man Was Changed – When the pigs ran down the mountain and killed themselves, the servants who were tending the herd went to town and told their masters what had happened. The townsfolk came to see for themselves. When they arrived, they heard all the details and they could see the evidence of a changed life right before their eyes.
• V. 15 Jesus Changed Him - He is no longer running about, crying, and cutting himself. Now, he is calm and seated beside Jesus! What a change!
That’s how what the Lord does! You cannot meet Jesus and remain the same. He changes all those who come to Him, John 3:3, 5; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10!
• V. 15 Jesus Clothed Him - No longer is this man naked, now he has clothes!
This is just further proof of his change! What we need to notice here is that what Jesus does in the heart of a man is ALWAYS worked out on the outside of a man, Matt. 12:35!
• V. 15 Jesus Calmed Him - We are told that he is in his right mind! Where there has been turmoil and agitation, there is now perfect peace! He has been changed spiritually, physically and mentally!
What a picture of the total change that salvation brings to the converted sinner! Jesus literally gives everyone He saves a brand new life!
Jesus changed him from the inside out! Jesus started with the man’s real problem! A bad heart is the lost sinners real problem! The sin the sinner commits isn’t the root of his problem. His sin is the outworking, or fruit, of his problem. The sin the sinner commits is merely the outward manifestation of a wicked heart, Matt. 12:35!
B. v. 17-18 This Man Was Committed – The people of that region were afraid of Jesus, v. 15, and they were angry at Him too. Because He cast those demons into the swine, the price of bacon was about to go through the roof! You wouldn’t be able to get your hands on a pork chop. So, they come to Jesus and they demand that He leave their country.
For these people, all this spiritual power was simply too much! They might have been able to handle a little preaching, but when Jesus started changing lives and costing them money they wanted no part of Him. So they drove Him away.
There are multitudes like that around today! Just give them a little Sunday morning service and they are satisfied. A few might even come back Sunday night or Wednesday. But, don’t ask them to do any more than that! Don’t ask them to give, or witness, or pray, or come to revival, or do anything more than they are doing. When the Lord wants something more they rebel and push Him away.
• When you come to a place in your life where you are satisfied, you have problems!
• When you come to a place where you cannot sit through a preaching service, you have a problem.
• When you refuse to give Jesus a little more because it will interfere with your life and your routine, you have a problem!
Most folks want just enough Jesus to make them feel good and to keep them out of Hell. Jesus isn’t a good luck charm! He is a life-changing, eternity-altering Savior. He wants more than just a few hours a week. He wants everything you have and everything you are to be laid on the altar of surrender.
We had better be careful how we treat the Lord. He might just give us what we want. When we teach our children that other things in life are more important than worship and the things of God, don’t be surprised when they place other things before the Lord later on. When we tell the Lord, by our actions, that we are satisfied and that we do not want any more, do not be surprised when He takes away what we already have.
If we honor Him, He will bless us. If we treat Him like we can make it without Him, He may just let us!
Look at the contrast!
• The townspeople want Jesus to leave.
• The man who has just been saved wants to be with Jesus.
That’s what salvation will do for you! It will ruin you! When you get saved and your heart is right with the Lord, you will love Him, His house, His Word and His people. Wherever Jesus is, that’s where you will want to be too!
C. v. 19-20 He Was Commissioned For Jesus – Jesus refused the man’s request to be allowed to go with Him. Instead, Jesus sent him back to his home to tell others what the Lord had done for him. And, that is precisely what he did. He went into “Decapolis”, which means “the ten cities” and he preached the Gospel of grace to all who would listen!
• Can you picture in your mind how this scene must have played out?
• The people see him coming.
• They cringe in fear.
• Children hide behind their mothers.
• Doors are slammed shut.
• People run in fear to hide from the mad man.
But wait! Something is different today. Yes, it’s still him.
• He still bears the scars in his body, but the look in his eye is different.
• He isn’t screaming, he is preaching about a man named Jesus.
• He isn’t running around like a wild man; he is calm and sane and he is talking about how Jesus has changed his life.
• He isn’t naked; he is clothed and peaceful and changed.
• The people listen to his story and they are touched; some are no doubt saved.
What a difference Jesus makes!
• We are commanded to do what the Lord told this man to do.
• We are commanded to share the Gospel with those who do not know the Lord, Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19-20.
• We are to go to a lost world and tell them the same thing this man was commanded to tell: “how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee”.
I would imagine that no one had a strong defense against this man’s arguments. After all, he had been radically transformed by the power of God.
People might argue with us about our doctrines; but they cannot refute our testimonies! Nothing is more powerful that the testimony of a changed life!
Conc: Jesus easily took care of this hopeless situation, and He can do the same for you! He is the Master of the hopeless! With Him, there are No Hard Cases, there are only powerful solution!
What is your true spiritual condition today?
• Can you remember a day when the Lord of glory came to you and radically changed your life? If He has, then be sure to thank Him for it!
• If He hasn’t you need to be saved. If He is calling you, I invite you to come to Him. Do it today. You will never regret it!
• Are you lost and in the grip of sin today? Jesus can set you free!
• Are you out of God’s will and trapped in pride and bitterness? Jesus can set you free!
• Do you need His touch?
• Do you need His compassion?
• Do you need His life-changing power?
• Friend, what you need is but a prayer of faith away!
• Come to Jesus!
• Come home!
• Obey His voice.