Unknown to Legion (Spiritual Exile)

Pastor Josh Combs

“My name is Legion, for we are many.” Mark 5:9

“What is your name?” Jesus asks him. And the response that comes back is bone chilling. Through the mouth of this man speaks a wicked horde of fallen angels. “Legion, for we are many,” they say. Standing before Jesus was a man that the world couldn’t control. The people of the Gerasenes region had tried and failed. They had shackled him, attempted to subdue him with human strength, and even resorted to chaining him up like an animal, but nothing worked. He would break free and resume his howling, self-mutilation, and screaming throughout the night, living among the dead. He was truly a monster lurking in the cemetery, living in the crypts.

Now Jesus and His disciples have arrived on the eastern shore of the sea of Galilee, following an extraordinary trip across the sea (see Mark 4:35-41). In the midst of a raging storm, the Lord woke up and simply commanded, “Peace! Be still!” As the storm ceased, the disciples sat in amazement at Christ’s divine power. But the thrill of escaping a potentially fatal storm quickly evaporates when Legion shows up, naked, bleeding, screaming, and running towards them and Jesus. But the power that Jesus had demonstrated over nature was going to be matched by His authority over demons and over the torment that this man was experiencing. Jesus gave a clear, unavoidable command in Mark 5:8, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit.” And the legion of demons was gone, dispatched into a nearby herd of swine.

As for the man, the Scripture says he was sitting with Jesus, “clothed and in his right mind” (Mark 5:15). Jesus would commission him to go to his family and tell them “how [the Lord] has had mercy on you” (verse 19). And that is exactly what he did. He traveled throughout the Decapolis, proclaiming the power of Jesus.

But I wonder, what was his name? It certainly wasn’t Legion. His identity had been stolen, lost to demonic powers. He had become a monster, a horror, a true “thing that goes bump in the night.” Now Jesus had returned him to his right mind, redeemed him from the power of darkness, and restored him back to his family and friends.

Oh, the power of Jesus! This is what He does. He takes what the enemy has hijacked and rescues, restores, redeems, and renews. A name that had been lost, and replaced by evil, was given back once again. Evil was dismissed. Life was made new.

What Jeremiah said to the Lord is true: “Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).

Today’s Bible reading: Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 8:28-34; Luke 8:26-39

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