Last night I spoke on Mark 5:1-20 and was struck with the illustration that the demon-possessed man and the Christian. The two things that jump out at me in the passage is, first, the power of Christ displayed in verses 1-13. This was a man that no one could subdue. No one could control this man. No earthly power, neither man nor metal, could bind him. But immediately when Christ showed up, the man and the demons inside automatically submit themselves to the power of Christ.
The second thing is the mercy of Christ that we see in verses 14-20. The people were more concerned with the livestock than with this man. They cared more that they lost 2,000 swine than that this man was healed. Christ had compassion upon the man. He tells him to go back to proclaim the power and the mercy of the Lord. Another thing jumped out at me here. This man was called to return back to the place where they had just kicked Jesus out. Imagine what may have gone through his head. “ok, they just kicked Jesus out, the man who healed me…. why would they listen to me?!” But the man returned, proclaimed the power and mercy of the Lord, and Mark says “everyone marveled.” No other Gospel includes this, just one of the great little comments that Mark adds to the narratives.
So the great illustration is that Christ exercised His power upon the demons and not the man. The power was casting the demons out and the mercy was sparing and delivering the man. When Christ had power of the sin in our own lives, he did not condemn or destroy us, but showed mercy upon the sinner. Obviously the breakdown comes when you realize that this man may have not voluntarily given himself over to these demons, but we voluntarily serve our own desires and sin. Besides that, it was powerful to see the mercy that Christ showed to the sinner, while still dealing severely with the demons within the man.