MARK 5:1



The story of the maniac of Gadara shows once again the power of Jesus and the compassion of Jesus and the ability of Jesus to help all of us, even the most troubled among human beings. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, even the worst of sinners. The Bible says  in Mark 5:1-5, “And they came over unto the other side of the seas, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.


We are told several things about the maniac of Gadara. The first thing that we are told is that he lived among the tombs. He was an outcast from society. He was isolated, and this in itself would have been no small suffering. We have people in our society who are isolated also. Some are isolated in prisons, some in insane asylums, and some are isolated due to other circumstances; and many of these even in our day have been given up on by society. But there is no case too hard for God, and there is no one too isolated that God cannot come to them and touch them. Jesus came to this maniac of Gadara.


The second thing that we are told about the maniac of Gadara is that he had an unclean spirit. Many of the extreme behavioral problems experienced by human beings are due to the influence of evil spirits. Literally Mark 5:2 says, “A man with an unclean spirit.” There was a relationship, a connection between this man and an unclean spirit. We are not told how the relationship started, but we are shown how it ended. It ended with the man being controlled in a self-destructive way by the unclean spirit. Those who experiment with sin or with evil and who think that they can keep it under control are unwise. Evil seeks to control you, to your own destruction. Notice how this man ended up as a consequence of his involvement with evil. He lived among the tombs and other deserted places, and Mark 5:5 says that he was “crying and cutting himself with stones.” God has given us life so that we can fulfill it and prolong it and become the best that we can be. The evil forces want to mar and to disfigure and to destroy God’s beautiful human creation.


The maniac of Gadara had come to a point where there was no help possible for him but from God and from Christ. Mark 5:4 says, “Neither could any man tame him.” The one good thing about being at the very bottom, and coming to the end of all sources of human help, is that you have no where to look but up. Psalm 34:6 says, “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” Jesus came to this man, and the man also came to Jesus. The deliverance of this man from the evil that possessed him came about only because he came into contact with Jesus. Mark 5:6 says, “But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him.”


The man came to Jesus, but the evil spirits were still too much in control of him. Until they were cast out, they dominated even the conversation between the man and Christ. In the exchange that follows between Jesus and the demons, a couple of important points are emphasized to us. The Bible says in Mark 5:7-10, “And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.”


The first thing to note is that the demons knew who Jesus really was. Strange is it not, that the evil spirits know who Jesus is, but many human beings do not? Of course, it is not enough to know who Jesus is. One must also turn from one’s sins and believe in Him. There is a difference between knowing who Jesus is, and knowing Him. That’s why the demon said, “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God?” There was no relationship, no connection between the demon and Christ. If you have not yet been saved, then you are in a similar spiritual condition as this demon. You also have no connection to Christ. Of course, you can get that fixed by giving your heart and life to Him.


We see that the demons were afraid of two things. They were afraid of Jesus and they were afraid of being cast out of the man. Jesus Christ is the Lord of all creation: physical and spiritual. The day will come when Jesus will cast the demons into hell, and they know it. Because the demons pleaded with Jesus not to cast them out, and because they also requested to be allowed to enter the swine; we get a very good idea of what motivates demons. They are motivated to enter the body of man and beast, and then to take control of those bodies to do their evil deeds. The captain of the demons, Satan himself, will enter into the body of the antichrist to motivate and use him. The good thing for believers to know is that all of the demons and the devil himself are afraid of Jesus Christ, and rightfully they should be. It’s a wonderful thing to be a Christian in this world. One of the benefits is that we who have the Spirit of Jesus within us, are safe from such demonic control.


Even those who do become possessed and controlled by an evil spirit actually had control over what happened to them. One clue to that fact is found in this passage when the demons basically asked permission to enter into the swine. They could not do it without permission from Jesus. When a demon enters a human being and takes control of them, the demon can only do so when permission is granted from the human. This biblical principle is found in the fact that the Bible says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Human beings are responsible for their own actions. That is the way that God made us. He gave us a free will and a free choice. If any person becomes possessed with a devil, it’s only because that person allowed a devil to enter them, and that person is therefore still responsible for their actions.   


The Bible says in Mark 5:11-17, “Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.”


The maniac of Gadara met Jesus, was healed spiritually by Jesus, and then notice the effect. The people came out of the city to see what was done, and they saw Jesus and they saw the man who was no longer a maniac, “sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind.” The fact that the man was sitting indicates that he was at peace. You can find true peace, if you come to the Prince of Peace. The man was also clothed. A person who is rightly related to Christ understands even the more practical things such as what clothes to wear and when. People who take clothes off when they should put them on are in the same condition this man was in when he still had the demons. That tells you all you need to know about some of the people in the entertainment business: it’s called demon possession. How can it be that those who have access to the whole world through modern media would use it to corrupt the young and the innocent? In addition to human selfishness and greed, demon possession is also one of the reasons. Why aren’t they in their right mind? They are not led by the Spirit of God. Instead, they are led by the spirit of evil. Yes, demon possession is one of the reasons for the horrible stuff that comes out of Hollywood.


The people who came out of the city of Gadara noticed the change in the man who had dwelt among the tombs. The world will always notice the change when a person meets Jesus. If someone has met Christ risen from the dead there will be a change in their life. “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things are new.”


There is one more lesson to learn from the maniac of Gadara. It is found in Mark 5:18-20 that says, “And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” After being delivered by Jesus, the maniac of Gadara wanted to do something to show his appreciation: he wanted to be one of those who accompanied Jesus on the dusty roads of Galilee. It’s important to notice that Jesus had something else in mind for this new convert. Be careful. Our ways are not always God’s ways. God has a will for you, and you must find His will by knowing when to set aside your own intentions and desires. Those desires might even be something that appears to be in service to God. Oh, the wasted years and the wasted opportunities for the believers who make decisions without carefully considering what the Lord really wants.


Jesus was on His way to the cross, but He had things to do before he got there. After helping the maniac of Gadara, there were others to help. The Bible says in Mark 5:21-23, “And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea. And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.” One of the many things in which Jesus is such a good example to us is the fact the He was never hurried, or rushed, or stressed out no matter how much there was to do. Much people were gathered unto him, but Jesus did not lose touch with the right pace that life should take. The multitude pressed Him, but he had all the time that He needed to deal with every individual that He needed to deal with. 


When Jairus came to Jesus, all of us who are parents and who love our children certainly understand what was in Jairus’ heart as his child lay dying. There may be no greater pain in all of life than for a parent to see his or her child suffer or die. Maybe God made it that way so that we would understand just a little bit how much He suffered when His Son Jesus died at the hands of cruel men on the cross of Calvary. It’s also probably part of the reason that God had such compassion for Jairus and what had happened to his daughter. God has the same compassion for anyone who has a disaster or emergency happen to their child. There is a song that has the words, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.” Sometimes God has one of these little ones go to heaven to be a beautiful flower in His bouquet, and sometimes God keeps alive the child He did with Jairus’ daughter. God knows what is best. If you had a child that died, at least you know that your child is in heaven with Jesus, and you will be able to see your child again one day if you also go to heaven. Make sure you believe in Jesus.


When Jairus came to Jesus for help, we see a symbolism to the salvation experience. Jairus was at the end of himself and knew how desperate his own situation was. Therefore, Jairus came to Jesus, fell at His feet, and called out to Him. All those who come to Jesus in this way find salvation. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”



Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved