Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode Five of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Mark 5 today, and our focus is on the amazing encounter between the superhumanly strong demoniac and Jesus in Mark 5. Welcome to new listeners in Tamil Nadu, India, Dubai, UAE, Quebec, Canada, Montgomery, Alabama, Albany, NY, Phoenix, AZ and Richmond, VA. Thank you for joining us for Bible 2021! We are a daily podcast, where we will dig into ten minutes of truth from the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day. Our focus this year is on DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our new web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more!

Mark 5 contains one of the most curious incidents in the Bible. Jesus encounters a man possessed by an unclean spirit who is living in a cemetery, is superhumanly strong – able to break strong chains – is unsubduable, cuts himself in torment, and howls all day and night long. I’d hate to live near that situation! One bit of interesting theology/demonology we learn in this passage. Apparently unclean spirit and demon is largely or practically synonymous. We see this by comparing vs 2. “a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met him.” and vs. 18, “the man who had been demon-possessed begged him earnestly that he might remain with him.” We also see that these demons/unclean spirits recognize Jesus from far away, and immediately realize they are in the presence of a much greater power, as our focus verse of the day suggests,Mark 5:7 And he cried out with a loud voice, “What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you before God, don’t torment me!”

These issues are important, but the questions most people have when they read this passage have to do with the pigs: Why did the demons want to go into the pigs, why did Jesus let them, and why did the pigs then drown? (and the one my daughter Kassidy asked at Bible time tonight – Where did the demons go when the pigs died? Back to Hell?…I don’t know where they went, I explained, but I do know they didn’t go back to Hell, because demons don’t live in Hell now…they go there ultimately when they are punished at the final judgment.”) Let’s read and discuss our passage.

Wonderful and fascinating passage – several beautiful healings, but we are focused in on this very strange pig situation. Why did Jesus send these demons into the pigs? Why did He agree to their request? Well, to be clear – the Bible does NOT tell us the answer to our question. The Bible is not at all a book of questions and answers, and there are many passages, like this one, where we must be very, very humble as we seek answers, because they are not obviously given. I do, however, see one very important clue in vs. 17, “17 Then they began to beg him to leave their region.” Why would the men of this region, having seen an incredible miracle, beg the worker of that miracle to LEAVE them?

I think the issue here is that ultimately, these people see Jesus for who He really is. Not just a merely good and moral teacher with some nice things to say to us…but that He is an uncontrollable power that has confronted and overcome the problem that none of them could overcome. Further, the solution to that problem involved significant economic loss to this region, as those pigs, though they weren’t kosher and allowed under Jewish law, still had great value…but that value is gone. It is almost as if Jesus is setting a choice before them. Continue on the way you are, or leave everything and follow me. And their answer is – “beat it, Jesus – we’re good here.” Let’s get some wisdom on this from pastor Tim Keller:

They admire him. They’re attracted to him. They respect him incredibly. They see what he has done. They acknowledge what he has done, and they say, “Get away from me.” They begged him to leave the region. Basically people are saying, “Look, I’d like a little salvation but not this much. I would like some help; I don’t want somebody like this. This is too big. This is too much. This is too costly. I’m afraid I’m going to lose control. A little bit of salvation, but not this much salvation. A completely final salvation.” See there? They say, “Leave!”

Timothy J. Keller, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive (New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).

Some people, when confronted with the King of Kings – run away…and some, flee to Christ. Which will you do?

End of the Show: Bible memory verse for January: Mark 1:15 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

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