When You Have a Legion of Problems
So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the land of the Gerasenes. Just as Jesus was climbing from the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit ran out from a cemetery to meet him. This man lived among the tombs and could not be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles – as he often was – he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to control him.
All day long and throughout the night, he would wander among the tombs and in the hills, screaming and hitting himself with stones. When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him. He ran to meet Jesus and fell down before him. He gave a terrible scream, shrieking, "Why are you bothering me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? For God's sake, don't torture me!" For Jesus had already said to the spirit, "Come out of the man, you evil spirit." Then Jesus asked, "What is your name?" And the spirit replied, "Legion, because there are many of us here inside this man." ~ Mark 5:1-9 (NLT)
Jesus encounters a man who is literally filled with evil!
In Bible times, a Roman legion was composed of 5000 men. If the demons are calling themselves “Legion,” then how much evil is infesting this man? There is evil beyond scope, so much evil in fact that it cannot be contained. We read that the townsfolk tried to shackle him in chains, but the intense power of evil inside Legion broke free every time. So much evil pervaded this man that the Bible even says no one was strong enough to control him.
Did you catch that? No one!
Isn’t that the case with the evil inside of us? We have all tried our own human measures to control sin. We have all tried in our own feeble strength to constrain our actions, our words, and our thoughts. We have all tried and tried--and failed and failed--because we do not have the power to deal effectively with the sin and evil in our lives. They are far too strong for us, and so we continue to inflict more and more damage on ourselves and others. Isn’t that what happened with Legion as he terrorized the town folk and hit himself with stones?
The situation seemed hopeless for Legion. That is, until Jesus showed up. Seeing Jesus and the disciples hit the shore, Legion presumably runs to terrorize them as he did so many others. Yet, when he reaches Jesus, all Legion can do is fall to his knees and beg not to be tortured. Sin and evil are no match for Jesus! He has the power to break the hold of evil, the power to cancel sin, and the power to set us free from the things that bind us.
Yes, there is power in Jesus to not only overcome your anger but to deliver you from it. There is power in Jesus to cleanse your mind of impure thoughts, to break the sinful patterns of lying, cheating, gossiping, or whatever else holds you in its grasp. There is power in Jesus to set you free from the worry, stress, bitterness, hopelessness, or whatever it is that chains you to a life far beneath what God intends for you.
Make no mistake, there is power in Jesus. This power can break any evil. It broke the evil overwhelming Legion, and it has broken the evil in millions of others throughout history.
Guess what? Christ's power can break the evil in you as well.
Finishing the story in Mark 5, we find that Jesus easily cast the demons out of Legion. When the townsfolk finally came out to the cemetery, this is what they found. They saw the man who had been demon possessed, for he was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane. (V. 15)
The evil in Legion encountered human power and wisdom and won again and again. When that same evil encountered Jesus, however, it was soundly defeated!
You see, the answer to the evil within you is not found in the self-help section of your local bookstore. The answer to the evil within you is not found by looking in the mirror and telling yourself to “Buck up and try harder!” Nor is it found in a seminar, on Oprah, or with Dr. Phil.
The answer to the evil within you is found in Jesus Christ. He alone has the power and authority to not only deal with your sins but to destroy your sins and give you a new and satisfying life.
Since that's the case, let's talk about this some more in the next blog.