Jesus vs. 3000 demons. Guess who wins.
Over the past few days there have been a number of posts that emphasize the strength and power of Jesus. Today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 5:1-20) gives an incredible demonstration of the power of Jesus Christ.
 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Ger’asenes.  And when he had come out of the boat, there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,  who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him any more, even with a chain;  for he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him.  Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones.  And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him;  and crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”  For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”  And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”  And he begged him eagerly not to send them out of the country.  Now a great herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside;  and they begged him, “Send us to the swine, let us enter them.”  So he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.  The herdsmen fled, and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened.  And they came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had had the legion; and they were afraid.  And those who had seen it told what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine.  And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood.  And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.  But he refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”  And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decap’olis how much Jesus had done for him; and all men marveled.
As you read this account, imagine witnessing such an event. Here are a few observations that can awaken awe in Christ:
- Jesus has left Nazareth and is now in Gentile territory (Jews did not keep pigs). This is not a welcoming place for a Jewish Rabbi.
- The man from the tombs is fierce-some: he has an “unclean spirit”, “no one could bind him…even with a chain”, he had “wrenched” chains apart; no one had strength to subdue him. Most of us, if we saw someone like this, would call the cops…and tell them to bring the tasers.
- Despite the uncontrollable power of this Satan possessed soul, he comes and throws himself at Jesus’ feet, worshiping. Somehow, Jesus has scared this intensely powerful man to the depths of his soul.
- Jesus is up against, not just the run of the mill, demon possessed person, but a person with a “legion” (meaning many; a unit of Roman military that included 3000-6000 warriors). Clearly Jesus is up against an army of devil warriors. And yet, they fall at His feet!
- After casting out the demons who enter a herd of pigs and drive them off a cliff, everyone who witnessed the event are completely overwhelmed with fear, begging Jesus to leave them. They simply don’t know how to be around such an awesome power.
- In contrast, the formerly possessed man “begs” Jesus to allow him to come with Him.
Clearly, Jesus has great power and great courage. He is unafraid of being in hostile territory, of the superhuman strength of the demon-possessed or of thousands of demons. Everyone else is overwhelmed and afraid.
While we know that Jesus Christ is Perfect Love, we must never forget; Jesus does not tolerate Sin or Satan. And He clearly has the power to put Sin and Satan in their place. Which, is, of course, Hell.