The region of the Gerasenes - Mark 5:1

Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Mark 5:1-20

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The region of the Gerasenes - Mark 5:1

The exact location of the region of the Gerasenes is not known. Most likely it is near a small town on the eastern shore of the lake and not the larger city of Gerasa that is about 35 miles from the coast. Perhaps it is to be associated with the village that today is called Koursi (Kersi). This region was largely populated by Gentiles.

Unclean spirit - Mark 5:2-5

The unclean spirit gave this man super human strength, but was destroying him. He was making him more like an animal than a human being. The man was living among the tombs. He was cut off from other human beings and cried out during the night like a wild animal. The demons acted consistent with their nature. Forcing the man to cut himself was just another part of the demonic attempt to destroy the image of God. The people of the town feared this wild man. They tried to shackle him, but he broke the shackles. They could not control him and all they could do was drive him out of their town.

Worshipped - Mark 5:6

The Greek word translated bowed down is most often translated worshipped. Of course the demon was not giving Jesus true worship, but this word does present the entire event as a spiritual battle.

What do I have to do with you? - Mark 5:7

The question What do I have to do with you? is almost identical to that found in 1:24. It translates a Greek idiom which in this context probably has the sense of Why are you interfering with me? The phrase Most High God is found more often in the Old Testament than in the New Testament. More specifically, it was used by non-Israelite polytheists. Coming from the mouth of the demon possessed Gentile it probably has magical connotations. It was an effort to use Jesus' name to gain control over him. The clause I beg you by God himself can also be translated I adjure you by God. The demon is confronting Jesus in spiritual warfare.

Legion - Mark 5:9

The word Legion was drawn from the Roman military. A legion had around 6,000 men. If it was the name of the group of demons, the group was probably very large. It may not, however, have been a name at all. Instead it may have been an effort to avoid giving his name so it could not be used against him in magical spiritual warfare.

Herd of pigs - Mark 5:13

Jesus needed no magical spells. He allowed the demons to go into the herd of pigs. Jesus was in control and did not allow the demons to continue destroying the man. Instead they drowned the 2000 pigs. By doing so Jesus allowed them to show their true nature. It is the nature of the demonic to destroy. (The large herd of pigs fits the fact that this was a Gentile area.) Jesus had not let them destroy the man. Jesus reversed the bestializing of a human being.

Jesus was a person to be feared. - Mark 5:14-17

The people of the town begged Jesus to leave the area. They had feared the demon controlled man for years. Now they feared Jesus. Jesus had done what no one else could do. He controlled the uncontrollable man. They thought he had sent the pigs to their death. In their eyes this Jesus was a person to be feared.

Tell others the good news - Mark 5:19

Jesus instructed the healed man to tell others the good news of God's great work in his life. This is the opposite of what Jesus regularly said when he was in Jewish areas. In the Gentile region of the Geresenes Jesus was not worried that unchained messianic enthusiasm would complicate his ministry.

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