Picture the scene: A naked man, beyond any earthly insanity. He's been living among the tombs, day and night screaming and gashing himself with stones.
Originally, the people of the town had bound him with chains, but that word "anymore" tells us that this situation had gotten progressively worse. He would now just tear the chains and shackles apart. How could demon possession get progressively worse? Jesus told us in Matthew 12,
Matt. 12:43-45 "Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes, and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation."
Casting out a demon doesn't necessarily require a Christian. Remember that Jesus said,
Matt. 7:22-23 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you...'"
There were exorcists casting out demons before Christ came on the scene. When the Pharisees accused Jesus of using the power of satan to cast out demons, He asked,
Matt. 12:27 "...If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?"...
So we get the idea that when this man first had become demon possessed, some exorcist must have cast it out. But an exorcist doesn't know to fill the vacancy left by the demon that has exited. After cruising around for awhile, the demon comes back and finds the man unoccupied. What could occupy the space so that the demon couldn't come back? The Bible says,
1Cor. 6:19 ...Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you...?
When you are saved, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in you. As a Christian, your house is occupied! The Spirit will not work out a time-share condo situation with an evil spirit. But if a demon is cast out, and the person doesn't get saved... Then the poor guy ends up with eight demons - and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. If this situation repeats, then the 8 go out and each find seven more. If this guy had demons cast out of him four times, he would end up with a total of 4,096 demons inside of him!
We read that he was crying out and gashing himself with stones. Being demon-possessed is a living nightmare that makes you want to die. Remember that as Jesus came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, a man approached Him about his demon-possessed son:
Matt. 17:15 "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic, and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire, and often into the water.
Worse yet, when we read of the demonic activity that will take place during the Tribulation,
Rev. 9:5-6 ...they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; and they will long to die and death flees from them.
Those who are afflicted by this demonic horde will seek death and not find it.
The demoniac runs up and bows down. This isn't worship - it is fear. Fear of the One who created him, fear of the One whom he rebelled against. James tells us,
James 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
The demons know that Jesus has the power to cast them into the abyss.
When I was a new Christian, I got involved in a weekly prayer meeting. Week after week, one woman would always pray, "And Lord, You tell us to name the spirits, and so we bind that spirit of apathy, we cast out the spirit of lust, and rebuke those demons of alcohol." Not knowing any better, I began to pray the same way. It wasn't until months later when I began to study this subject in the Scripture that I realized that the Lord never told us to "name the spirits."
It is only this one time that we see Jesus saying "What is your name." Not to show us that we're to name the spirits, but simply to show us that there were thousands of demons in this man.
The usual response when I share this truth is "But I've heard there's a spirit of fear." So let's address that. In the Bible, the word "spirit" applies to three things: the Holy Spirit, evil spirits, and our spirit. And we do occasionally find the Bible using the expression, "spirit of..." this or that. Timothy was a young pastor that struggled with intimidation and inferiority. He was shy and had trouble asserting himself. Paul wrote to him,
2Tim. 1:6-8 And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with m} in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,
This spirit of timidity or fear was not a demonic spirit, but the spirit that God gave Timothy. And it was in fact NOT a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline. We also read Pauls exhortation to the Romans regarding the spirit which God gave them. He said,
Rom. 8:14-15 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
So again, the "spirit of slavery" or the "spirit of fear" do not refer to evil spirits, but rather an encouragement that the spirit which God gave us is not these things.
So "naming the spirits" is not a biblical practice. It has been founded on experience and false teaching, and we should occupy ourselves with more Biblical pastimes.
Another popular conjecture about demons is that of "territorial spirits." This one has more of a biblical basis to it. The demons here beg not to be sent out of the country. In this same incident, Luke wrote that,
Luke 8:31 ...They were entreating Him not to command them to depart into the abyss.
It would seem, using reflexive logic (which may or may not be accurate), that sending the demons out of the country would cause them to have to go into the abyss, the bottomless pit.
From the book of Daniel, we get the idea that demonic forces, principalities, and powers are assigned certain countries or areas. When Daniel was praying and an angel appeared to him, he said,
Dan. 10:12-13 Then he said to me, "Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.
The Prince of the kingdom of Persia was a spiritual prince, not an earthly one.
Dan. 10:20-21 Then he said, "Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.
Another demonic entity over Greece. Michael is apparently the angelic prince over Israel. So it is entirely conceivable that there are territorial spirits and angels. But certainly not anything we need to get preoccupied with, for the Bible speaks so little about it.
The demons beg to be sent into a herd of pigs feeding nearby. This tells us that demons can possess animals as well. Once the demons entered the pigs, they drowned themselves in the sea. This could very well have been the suicidal tendencies we spoke of earlier manifesting.
But I want you to notice something now that the demons are gone. The Lord esteemed the value of this one man over two thousand pigs. God will resort to destruction of property or a radical loss of income to win a soul. He is far more concerned about one person than these material things. How valuable are you to the Lord? Infinitely valuable. He loves you so much that He gave His Son to die for you.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son...
God cares for you so much, that He gave up His one and only Son for you.
The herdsmen saw the dead pigs, and saw the man delivered, and chose to mourn over the monetary loss rather than delight over the delivered demoniac. There is a simple spiritual truth here: If you care more about money than you do about people, you're going to reject the Lord. Jesus said,
Matt. 19:24 ..."It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
When you're rich, you're self-sufficient. Whatever need or problem you have, you can buy your way out of it. You have no need of God. It is only those who realize their insufficiency that cry out to God. Agur said in Proverbs 30,
Prov. 30:8-9 ...Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, lest I be full and deny Thee and say, "Who is the LORD?" Or lest I be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.
I don't pray to be rich. I just want to desire the Lord.
The delivered man begged Jesus to allow him to go with them. But Jesus told him to go home, to Decapolis. This sort of flies in the face of those who believe that the Great Commission must be fulfilled by everyone leaving to go to a foreign country. Indeed, Jesus said,
Mark 16:15 ..."Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."
But the Great Commission doesn't have to take you to the ends of the world. It can take you next door or down the street. When John the Baptist was teaching, we read,
Luke 3:10-14 And the multitudes were questioning him, saying, "Then what shall we do?" And he would answer and say to them, "Let the man who has two tunics share with him who has none; and let him who has food do likewise." And some tax-gatherers also came to be baptized, and they said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Collect no more than what you have been ordered to." And some soldiers were questioning him, saying, "And what about us, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages."
Basically what he was saying was, "go back to work and show yourself a changed person." This man, too, was fulfilling the great commission - not by going to the other side of the world, but by going home. We will see the fruit of this man's testimony in chapter 7, when we see that there are believers in Decapolis.
Jesus had been booted out of the synagogues, yet here is one of the synagogue officials humbling himself at the feet of Jesus. This man had great faith in Jesus' ability. This man no longer cared about his reputation - only that his daughter would live. Jesus heads off to Jairus' house. But then there is an interruption, a parenthesis in the story...
This woman had a terrible, continuous hemorrhaging problem that had lasted for twelve years. She had gone to everybody except Jesus so far. They injured her further, they took all of her money, and she was worse off than she was in the beginning. That's a good picture of people who search for fulfillment in people, places, and religions other than Christ. They turn to religions, philosophies, humanism, the occult... anything and everything to fulfill the emptiness they feel. But these things drain you spiritually and financially. You need to turn to Christ - He is the only one who can bring healing to your life.
Jairus' daughter had died while he was waiting for Jesus to come heal her. There was no longer any hope. We have a tendency to hold onto hope as long as we can see a door, a way out of our affliction or situation. But that's a worldly hope. That's walking by sight and not by faith. Jesus says "Don't be afraid anymore." When all you have left is faith - when you know that it's not going to work its way out by luck or by circumstance - that's when faith is grown. Faith is built during those times when God comes through when there's no door left.
Today we hire florists, but back then they hired professional mourners. These paid people would weep and wail, tear their garments and even rip out their hair. They would shriek and howl to help demonstrate the despair of the departed's family. It is evident that they had no sincere love for the child who had died, as they begin to laugh at Jesus for saying she was merely sleeping.
So what was up with that twelve year thing? Why did the Holy Spirit choose to illuminate this story with the similar number twelve in each incident?
We have a 12-year-old Jewish girl that needed healing. Then, we have a woman who was sick for 12 years. If she was a Jew, the law said that she was ceremonially unclean for all that time.
Lev. 15:25 'Now if a woman has a discharge of her blood many days, not at the period of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond that period, all the days of her impure discharge she shall continue as though in her menstrual impurity; she is unclean.
Anything or anyone she touched would be unclean. This tells me that she was not a Jew, but a gentile. For no Jew would purposely make the crowd and the Rabbi unclean.
So notice the parenthesis: On his way to heal the 12-year-old Jewish girl, Jesus stops and heals the gentile woman who had bled for 12 years. Then, when He is finished with her, He continues on His way to heal the Jewish girl.
There is a typological picture developing here: a picture of history. God came and covenanted with His chosen people, the Jews. But then there came a parenthesis in history - a pause between the 69th week of years and 70th week of years as described in the book of Daniel. God turned His attention to the gentiles - the church age. But when He is through with us, He will turn His attention back to Israel. Paul wrote in Romans 11...
Rom. 11:25-26 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved...
God has not forsaken Israel any more than He forsook Jairus' daughter. He has just paused to minister to us for a time.