A problem that I have been struggling with is how people can say they are Christian, say they have a relationship with God, yet never really act like it. We’ve talked about this before but I believe it’s because people do not see the value of Christ. They don’t see the value of Christ and they don’t see the value of the cross. The reason they don’t is that sin has been downplayed so much that we really don’t see it as a big deal anymore. We view sin from a man’s perspective instead of viewing it from God’s perspective.

I want to show you something out of the story of the legion of demons that were cast out of the demoniac. God often used real-life events to explain the Gospel. We understand this by the stories of the Old Testament. Well, our God does not change and we saw the Gospel played out in real life while Messiah Yeshua was on earth. This is true with the story of the demoniac (Mark 5).

The first thing I like to do is read this story on the surface and put yourself in the scene. For example, Imagine watching as Yeshua and His disciples arrived on the shore. It’s not noted on who got out first, only that when Yeshua got out, there came this man. Now, picture everyone on the boat and Yeshua steps out and all of a sudden a completely naked man, filthy from head to toe, dragging broken chains, bleeding and scabbed, sores from head to toe, and completely out of his mind, comes running out of a bunch of gravestone with blood curdling screams towards Christ and the disciples. I picture Yeshua completely calm (after all, I’m sure He knew this was going to happen), and I picture the disciple's eyes bugging out and stepping back saying, “Uh… this one is all yours, Yeshua”. That must have been one kind of scene. Now I want to point out some things in this story.

When I put us in that picture, we were either in the boat as one of the disciples, or we were a third party hovering invisibly, like watching a movie. The truth is, when we were sinners, we were the man with the legion of demons. We rarely see ourselves in such a picture because we may have never been demon possessed, cutting ourselves, running around naked and living in cemeteries, but that was us.

We tend to view sin from a man’s perspective but when we view sin from God’s perspective, that man is what we look like. Look at what Isaiah had to say about the people of Israel who were disobeying God:

The whole head is SICK,
And the whole heart faints.
6 From the sole of the FOOT even to the HEAD,
There is NO SOUNDNESS in it,
They have not been closed or bound up,
Or soothed with ointment
(Isaiah 1:5-6 NKJV)

So, in our rebellion to God, that man is a picture of what we looked like. If we are going to have an insatiable desire for God and His will, if we are going to have a life that reflects the value of Christ as something we would give up everything for (Matt 13:45-46) then we need to see and understand who we are as sinners. There’s comfortable cliche’s that say, “God hates the sin but loves the sinner” but that is not totally true (Ps 5:5; 11:5). We must understand that sin requires death (Rom 6:23). This is why someone, or something, had to die in the Old Testament. Sin requiring death was not done away with at the cross because we know those who practice sin will die (Rom 1:32; Ezekiel 18:20). This is where the cross comes in.

When Messiah Yeshua was sweating blood in the garden and praying to let the “cup” pass from Him, He was not sweating and praying because a bunch of Roman soldiers was going to beat Him and crucify Him. There have been plenty of martyrs that went through horrible torture for God and sang in the process. The difference with Christ is that He was going to take the punishment of sin for man (Isaiah 53:5-7); just like the lambs in the Old Testament. It pleased God to crush Him (Isaiah 5:10). There was something else going on besides what we saw on the cross; God was pouring out the “cup of His wrath” (Jeremiah 25:15-17; 51:7; Ps 75:8; Zech 12:2-3; Rev 14:10; 16:19; 18:6) upon His Son for us. This is the cup that Christ was asking to pass from Him. The cross was merely a physical metaphor for the punishment that is due us.

Understand this, the cross was NOT a metaphor, it really happened, but it was a physical metaphor for what is due us. We can’t imagine what it would be like to suffer the wrath of God but when we look at the cross and see Messiah Yeshua beat to the point that He was unrecognizable (Isaiah 52:14) we get a taste of what that would be like. Now we understand how God views sin and how precious the cross is; because, if the cross is a picture of God’s wrath on sin, God’s hatred towards sinners, then the cross is also a picture of Gods love towards sinners. Because God crushed His Son in hopes to draw us to Himself. It’s not about salvation, going to Heaven, having a better life, escaping hell, the point is that God wants to draw us to Himself (John 6:44) because it's about a relationship (Romans 5:10).

This is the great thing about this story of the demoniac. The great thing is, while we looked like that, here comes Messiah Yeshua. There is hope. He has come - a physician to the sick. We must remember that this meeting did not happen by happenstance. Messiah Yeshua only did what He saw the Father doing (John 5;19; 8:28; 12:49). The reason they crossed the water that day was because God told His Son that there was a demoniac in need of salvation.

I want you to see what else is here. When the man was healed, he begged to follow Christ, like the disciples. He wanted to be entered into the “Messiah Yeshua Discipleship Training Academy” (vs 18). Christ refused Him entry. He told Him to go tell the people in his town what happened to him (vs 19). So, the man went back to his town; Decapolis. We need to understand that what we want to in service to God is not always what He wants. We need to accept His desire for our lives and stop fighting to keep our own desires.

Now, we know his townspeople were mad at first, telling Christ to leave (Mark 5:17). This is where we pick back up in Mark chapter 7. What was the context of the area Yeshua was, in chapter 7? Decapolis (Mark 7:31). Now there’s a crowd pressed against Him (Mark 5:33), asking Him to heal another man (Mark 5:32). This man did not study Scripture or enter into a training academy or seminary, he merely told people about what God did for Him. Because of this, the results were that people stopped chasing Him away and started seeking after Him to heal more people. You do not have to know much about Scripture, you just need to know your story.

Ok, what do we bring away from this?

1. God sees sin much differently than we do.

2. God brought His Son so that we may be saved from that horrible sinful state

3. God’s will for our lives is not always the same as ours but we must be faithful; and when we are, God’s Kingdom will grow.

4. The man with the legion knew his condition and knew what Christ did for him. The problem with the modern church is that we’ve so watered down the severity of sin that we don’t realize where we come from. Before we were saved, no matter what our sin was, or how severe our sin was in man's view, we were the man with the legion. As children rebellious to God, we had petrifying sores from the top of our head to the soles of our feet; and there was not a soundness in us (Isaiah 1).

For every little bit that the severity of sin is decreased, the wholeness of the purpose of the cross is also decreased. If we don’t realize who we were, we don’t realize the extent of what God had done for us; and we don’t realize the value of Yeshua.

So, we’ve either forgot where we have come from or we never really seen ourselves in the place we should have. I believe the latter becomes truer than the prior.

5. This man had a “begging” desire to follow because he understood. When we understand from where we came, does anyone really need to beg us to follow?

6. This man was not offended when Messiah Yeshua told him he could not follow.

7. This man did exactly what Christ told him, even though it was not what the man wanted to do

8. The witness of this man turned a crowd who was against Yeshua into a crowd who were gathering around Him and believing in what He could do.

9. The witness of this man did not come from the “Messiah Yeshua Discipleship Training Academy”. He did not stand around waiting for a door to open. He didn’t wait until he could learn some Scripture, even though he came from such a bad past. He merely went. And because of his obedience, many started to seek after Christ.

Why was he so obedient? I believe it’s because he understood from where he came and the value of the One who brought him out. I believe this is a starting point that we need to see in our lives.