Day 7 – Many bad spirits have to leave

Bible reading: Mark 5:1–20

Jesus meets a man who has many bad spirits inside him

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 is across the lake from Capernaum, on the east side. About a mile (1.6 kilometres) from the shore, there is a small village. There are some big holes in the rocks there. The people from the village buried dead people in the holes.

2-4 Jesus got out of the boat. Immediately a man with a bad spirit in him came to him. This man lived in a place where they buried dead people. He was very strong and nobody could hold him. Often people put metal round his ankles to hold him. They wanted to keep him in a safe place. But he broke the metal that held him. 5 The man often walked in the place where the dead people were and on the hills. During each day and each 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 powerful God who is over all! We have nothing in common! 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.’

5:9The word for ‘Army’ means a group of 6,000 soldiers. People called him Army, because very many bad spirits lived in him. The bad spirits used the man's voice to speak to Jesus.

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 these events spoke to the other people. They told them what had happened to the man with the bad spirits. They also explained what happened to the pigs. 17 Then the people who lived there said to Jesus, ‘Please go away. Leave our part of the country.’

18 Jesus got back into the boat. The man that the bad spirits had ruled spoke to him. He told Jesus that he very much 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 10 cities there. He told them about the great things that Jesus had done for him. All the people were very surprised.

Mark 5:1-20 EasyEnglish Bible (EASY)

Reflection

She was a young American woman who started attending our Oxford church. She told me she had been learning from one of the most important witches in New York, but I failed to believe it seriously. She soon put her faith in Jesus and her faith began to grow. But one night, she started speaking in a language which made me tremble and the atmosphere went cold.

My colleague and I had met this sort of thing before and tried to help her. But she smashed a glass and came to attack us with it. We made the sign of the cross and said, ‘You can’t come any further than this.’ Nor could she! It was as if she had hit a brick wall.

That woman’s problem was that she had allowed a very bad spirit into her life – just like the man in the story. We had the joy of seeing it go out of her in the name of Jesus, just as this man discovered that the power of Jesus had made him free.

And just as this man wanted to serve Jesus as a result of his freedom from bad spirits, so it was with the American woman. I met her later in the United Nations, a bold but gentle witness for Jesus!

King over evil forces

In the West, this talk of evil spiritual forces sounds crazy, but it can be terribly real. In Africa and Asia, everyone knows this, but in the West, we are mainly unaware of them. God has his spiritual helpers which the Bible calls angels. The Devil has his, too. And nothing but the power of Jesus can get rid of them once they have been welcomed into a person’s life. But Jesus is king over evil forces!