Mark 5:1-20

A man with many bad spirits

1 Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the lake. They came to a place where the Gerasene people lived.

5:1This place was across the lake from Capernaum, on the east side. About two kilometres from the shore, there was a small village. There were some caves in the rocks where people from the village buried dead people.

2-4 Jesus got out of the boat. Immediately, a man with a bad spirit in him came to him. This man lived outside, among some graves. He was very strong and nobody could hold him. People often put chains around his ankles to hold him. They wanted to keep him in a safe place. But he broke the chains that held him. 5 The man often walked in the place where the dead people were and on the hills. Every day and every night, he screamed and he used stones to cut himself.

6 He saw Jesus a long way away and he ran to meet him. He went down on his knees in front of Jesus. 7 He screamed loudly, ‘Jesus, you are the Son of the Most High God! What are you doing here? Please, promise God that you will not hurt me.’ 8 He said that because Jesus had already said to the bad spirit, ‘Come out of this man.’

9 Then Jesus asked the man, ‘What is your name?’

The man replied, ‘My name is Army because there are so many bad spirits in me.’

10 He said to Jesus many times, ‘Please do not send these bad spirits away from this place.’

11 A large group of pigs was eating on the hill. 12 The bad spirits said, ‘Jesus, send us to the pigs. Let us go into them.’ 13 Jesus let them do this. So the bad spirits came out of the man and they went into the pigs. There were about 2,000 pigs. They rushed together down the hill into the lake. All the pigs died there in the water.

14 The men who were taking care of these pigs ran away. They told the people in the town and in the villages what had happened. Then those people came to see the place for themselves. 15 They came to Jesus. They saw the man that the army of bad spirits had ruled. He was now sitting there quietly. He was wearing clothes and his mind was well again. When the people saw this, they were afraid. 16 The people who had seen this told other people what had happened to the man. They also explained what happened to the pigs. 17 Then the people who lived there said to Jesus, ‘Please go away. Leave this place.’

18 Jesus got back into the boat. The man that the bad spirits had ruled spoke to him. He told Jesus that he wanted to go with him. 19 But Jesus did not let him do this. Jesus said to him, ‘Go to your home and to your friends. Tell them what the Lord has done for you. Tell them how he has been kind to you.’ 20 So the man went away. He began to speak to many people in the region called ‘The ten cities’. He told them about the great things that Jesus had done for him. All the people were very surprised.