(**Please note that these studies are not ment to replace Bible reading, but are ment to encourage Bible reading. In order to actually grasp what is said and understand the context of each verse, you have to look up the references in the Bible as you read along**)

A Picture of Salvation

Jesus Heals A Man With An Unclean Spirit

Mark 5:1-20 & Luke 8:26-39

When Jesus was on earth He did many, many miracles, and not all of them are recorded in the Bible.  In John 21:25 it says that, "if they should be written every one, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that should be written."  And in John 20:30,31, that these particular miracles were recorded in the Bible that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might be saved.  Undoubtedly, by each recorded miracle, God is teaching us something about salvation.  This is definitely the case in Mark chapter five when Jesus heals a demon-possessed man.  This little study will take a brief look at some of the things God is teaching us here.

Probably the most obvious things we can see in this historical parable, deal with this man's condition before he met Jesus.  He is demon-possessed and under Satan's control. It's very interesting that we see this, because God reveals to us that without Christ, we all are walking "according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air," (who is Satan) "the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience."  God says that we are "by nature," children of wrath.  We are actually slaves of Satan (Ephesians 2:1-3, see also John 8:34, Romans 6:16-18).  The fact that the man dwells in tombs reminds us of the fact that as slaves of Satan, we are spiritually dead, unable to come to Christ on our own (Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13, and John 6:44,65, Romans 3:11).  He wore no clothes (as we see in Luke 8:27) because spiritually, we appear naked before God with all of our sins and shame exposed (see Hebrews 4:13).

To give us a more graphic but real picture of this man's condition, God tells us that the man was continually crying and cutting himself.  Since he was constantly cutting himself, he must have been covered with wounds and sores.  This also points to his destructive sins, and his corrupt condition before God.  In Isaiah 1:4-6, God is speaking about the nation of Israel who has turned away from Him and says, "Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity...From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds and bruises, and putrefying sores..." and in Psalm 38 the Psalmist speaks about his iniquities and says, "My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness...for my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh."   The condition of the man with the unclean spirit is very sorrowful and very sickly, but it is a picture of the spiritual condition all of us are in, if we don't know the Lord.

Then we see that Jesus mercifully delivered the man from his bondage to Satan and saved him by casting the demons out. Colossians 1:13, when speaking of God, says this very thing, "who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son."  As Mark 5:15 says, the man is now seated and clothed and in his right mind.  In Ephesians 2:5,6 the Lord says that when we are saved, He has, "raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."  The man is no longer a slave to Satan but is now reigning with Christ.  What a deliverance!  What a salvation!  (see also Romans 6:14)
Very significantly the man is now clothed. Isaiah 61:10 says, "for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness..."   Wonderfully, no longer are all his sins and shame exposed before God but it is forgiven and his corruptness is covered with the righteousness of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:21, Ephesians 1:7).

Another thing we see is the man is now in his "right mind".  This tells us that he is no longer spiritually dead but is sealed with the Spirit of Life, who is the Holy Spirit.  In 1 Corinthians 2:16 it says that, "we (those who are saved) have the mind of Christ" but the context is referring to receiving the Holy Spirit (ie: verse 12). This phrase found here in this context teaches us, that, to "have the mind of Christ," means, to "have the Spirit of God."  1 Corinthians 6:17 says, "he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."  How can this be!?  Not only has God delivered this man from bondage to Satan but God says that He has made him spiritually alive by abiding in him and literally becoming one spirit with the man's spirit.  What an incomprehensible idea! How can it be that Eternal God, who is perfect in His character and being, be within a sinful man as the one we are reading about?  How can it be that this same God would dwell within us?  Only by faith can we know this is so.  It is so beautiful and so great a thing, that it is beyond the ability of our minds to comprehend it; but I know that this is so, because I believe that God has the ability to do what He promises us (Romans 4:20,21).

In regard to this truth about being made spiritually alive with God, the Bible teaches us that although our spirit is made one with Christ, our whole being is not. 2 Corinthians 5:6 tells us this.  After being saved, we continue to possess this flesh which is still sinful by nature (Romans 7:18, Philippians 3:3, Romans 8) even though our spirit has been renewed (Titus 3:5); and so Paul in Romans 7:25 says, "so then with the mind (spirit) I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."  The man in our passage is now in his right mind, he can never lose his salvation because he is sealed with God's Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13,14).  When he leaves this world, when he physically dies, then he will be completely with the Lord, in the place of the highest good, that is, in Heaven, and he will be there forever.

In verses 18, and 19, of Mark chapter 5, the man who formerly had the unclean spirit begged Jesus to allow him to be with Him.  But Jesus said, "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."  Jesus said this to the man because He wanted the man to be a witness to others, of the salvation God has provided through Christ -- so that those he witnesses to may also become saved.  It is the desire of every child of God to be with the Lord, just as this man wanted to. But God has a very good reason for not taking us to Heaven to be with Him the moment we are saved.  Just like the man we are reading about, God purposes to use us as His tools to work salvation in the lives of others (John 17:15,18; Mark 16:15,16; Matthew 28:19,20).  Oh what an awesome and glorious thing it is to witness the Lord's working as He saves another soul!  God's Word says, "I say unto you that likewise there shall be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance." (Luke 15:7)

In this passage, we have seen the horrible situation we are all in if we do not know the Lord.  We have also seen the incomprehensibly great deliverance God provides for us, out of this shameful reality, and the awesome but unexplainable way God uses such imperfect tools as we are, to work salvation in the lives of others.  And we have seen that these great things happened to the man, simply, because he met Jesus.

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