(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words!” In the case of the above painting, it is worth 437 words, telling the story of the Gadarene demonic in Mark 5:1 through 20 (New King James Version). Yes, I counted them! Although I don’t know who the artist is, I am impressed by this artwork because it depicts the amazing encounter quite well!
The story goes like this:
- Jesus and His disciples sailed across the Sea of Galilee to “…the country of the Gadarenes…” (Mark 8:1), on the eastern side of that body of water. Gadara was a town close by or in the Decapolis (‘Ten Towns’), a Gentile dominated area east of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River.
- When they landed on shore, a violent demon possessed man met them screaming, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” (Mark 5:7).
- The Lord forced the demons to name themselves, “…Legion, for we are many.” (Mark 5:9).
- The demons in the tortured man were many indeed! For they, having received permission to go out from the man and enter the pigs,“…about two thousand [of them]; …and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned…” (Mark 5:13).
- The pig herders fled when they saw what happened, frantically telling others everywhere. The ‘others’ ran to where the miracle happened…
Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid....Then they began to plead with [Jesus] ...to depart from their region. (Mark 5:15, 17).
Now we come to our featured Scripture, Mark 8:18 through 20:
And when He [Jesus] got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might go with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” So he departed and began to pro- claim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.
Luke says in Luke 8:39 that the former demonic, “…proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.” But in Mark 5:20 tells us the man’s proclamation was in Decapolis, which can be taken to mean, the whole region known as the Ten Towns – quite a vast region indeed! Maybe the man didn’t personally go throughout the many square miles of Decapolis (one estimate is 2,500 square miles!) But news travels fast! And this news involved a great miracle, as well as 2,000 plus pigs drowned! And a lot of the tale of what happened came from ONE man who had thousands of demons expelled from him!
How do we know this man’s witness was so effective? In Mark 7:31 we read, “…departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon [about 40 miles northwest along the Mediterranean Sea], …[Jesus] came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee.” What happened then?
- He healed the man who was deaf and dumb (Mark 7:31-37). And, whereas when He healed the demonic, “…the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear…” (Luke 8:37). Now, upon seeing this miracle, “…they were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’ ”
- Next came the feeding of the four thousand! This event is recorded in both Mark 8:1 through 9 and Matthew 15:32 through 38.
- But just three verses before Matthew’s description, there is a very important and relative point made:
And Jesus departed from there [the region of Tyre and Sidon], skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them those who were lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glor- ified the God of Israel.
The crowd, “…four thousand men, besides women and children…” (Matthew 15:38), now brought their sick and needy to Jesus, and were praising Him! This was the same area where before the people had fearfully pleaded for Jesus to leave!
What made the difference? It was The Amazing Power Of One! One witness, the man who had the legion of demons and been delivered by Jesus, went about telling everyone, “…what great things the Lord had done…and how He had compassion on [him]…” (Mark 5:19).
What about you? You may not have been delivered from a legion of demons, but…
- …you have been rescued from eternal death in hell! (See Mark 9:34; I Thessalonians 1:7-9).
- …you have been given an eternal heritage in heaven! (See Colossians 1:5; I Peter 1:4).
- …you have received the opportunity for abundant life here and now! I believe the abundance we are promised in John 10:10 has to do with Spiritual fruit abundantly manifested in our life: “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5:22, 23).
- …you have the Lord’s presence and authority with you always! (See Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:18-20).
Will you be The Amazing Power Of One for the Lord?