Evil exists in this world.  There is no denying or avoiding it.  The Bible attributes some of this evil to Satan and his demons, calling Satan the one who has “sinned from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). But it’s important to recognize that the Bible doesn’t attribute all evil to Satan.  The Scriptures present moral, psychological, social, and material causes to evil, as well.  The Bible’s view on evil is nuanced, but the sole victor is clear.  The only one who can overcome evil is God!

In Mark 5:1-20, we are presented with the Bible’s longest and most detailed account of an exorcism.  Evil was inhabiting a man’s body in one of the clearest forms.  The chapter tells us, “3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.” When the man saw Jesus from a distance, he ran to him and fell on his knees.  And Jesus reacted to this man in the kindest way.  Jesus cast the demons out of him immediately, saying, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” (Mark 5: 8).  A herd of 2,000 pigs was nearby at this time, and the demons asked to be sent into them.  Jesus agreed, and the impure spirits were sent out of the man and into the pigs.  Then, the pigs rushed into a lake and were drowned.

This leaves the demonic pigs drowned, and the previously possessed man in his right mind. But the story doesn’t end there.  There are two important responses to Jesus’ triumph over evil here.  The first shows us how we should not respond. The second is a beautiful example of how we should.  In the first response, the townspeople did not praise Jesus for His saving of the mad man. Instead, they mourned the loss of their animals, were frightened by Jesus, and begged Him to leave their region.  They sadly cared more about the lost income and food than the person.  The saved man, however, showed the second response, the response we should emulate. After performing the miracle, Jesus told the man that he could not go with Him.  Rather, the man was to go out and spread the Good News of what the Lord had done for him.  And so the man did as Jesus wanted, becoming the first disciple to the Gentiles.

 As Mark 5 shows us, Jesus overcame evil during His earthly ministry.  And He continues to do so today. He overcomes demonic forces.  He overcomes destruction, self-harm,  addiction, and depression. He overcomes all things!  If this story teaches us anything, it teaches us this: those you’ve given up on are not beyond hope because Jesus Christ still lives and still saves.  No matter what, no one is out of reach of the one who reaches out to save. There is power, love, hope, and salvation in Jesus Christ.  We stand with the Apostle Paul when we say – “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38, 39).

Practical Tips

We can find hope in the fact that God is more powerful than any force of evil!

We know that no matter the circumstance, no one is beyond the reach of Jesus Christ.

In times of trouble, we are to run towards, not away from, our loving and powerful God.

When we are witness to God’s great saving power, we must tell others the good news!

Click here for the full sermon!