Mark 5:1-9 (ESV)
1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 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.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”
After Jesus and his disciples made it safely across the Sea of Galilee, they came to the country of the Gerasenes. Most who lived in this region were not Jewish, but Gentiles. Jesus even went into areas that could be considered “unclean,” bringing the good news to a variety of people groups. Verse 2 states that right when Jesus stepped out of the boat he met this demon-possessed man. The possessed man came from the tombs, which were caves in the rocks used to bury the dead. This is where the man with the evil spirit lived. Because he was possessed, he was totally out of control. No chain was strong enough to bind him, and no one could calm him down. In fact, he would scream and “cut himself” with sharp stones. When the demon-possessed man saw Jesus coming, he ran and fell down on the ground before him. The evil spirit that lived in the man begged Jesus not to “torment him.” He literally said, “Swear to God that you will not torture me!” After Jesus asked, the demon stated that his name was “Legion.” In the Roman army, a legion was a troop that consisted of almost 6,000 men. This demon, who spoke for the many demons who were in the man, revealed the power and strength of the evil forces that controlled the human.
While the disciples were just beginning to understand who Jesus was, this demon knew exactly whom he was dealing with. The demon acknowledged Jesus as the Son of the Most High and as the one with authority to torment him. Yet even though the demon knew and agreed to facts about Jesus, he was ultimately condemned. Let’s not miss the lesson found here. God isn’t looking for people or beings who merely believe truths about Jesus. Some may say, “Jesus is God, he died on the cross for sins, and he is coming again.” But at that point, they really have said as much as an evil spirit may confess. What about you? Do you have saving faith or do you have demon faith? How can you tell? We all must agree to the facts about who Christ is, but God will move his people past the point of only believing facts to the place of willingness to do things his way. If we honestly believe, our trust will impact our behavior.