From the Pit to the Proverbial Palace

Bible Book: Mark  5 : 1-20
Subject: Changed Life; Salvation; Jesus, Love of; Transformation

Mark 5:1-20

As I read this story today, I thought of the Old Testament Character Joseph, who went from a pit, where His brother put him, to a palace! Humanity is notorious for thinking that a palace is the only place Kings and royalty on earth are found.

The Bible teaches that the “Garden of Eden” was like God’s palace. It was a place of sinless perfection. When the first man and women ushered sin into the world, all kinds of evil came as they were ushered out of the Garden. So, catch the picture, mankind ushered sin into God’s palace, so He ushered us out of the palace. But immediately, God announced His plan for our return. Simply stated, our return into His palace is Jesus, His only Son. In Jesus, our wrongs can be righted, our sin can be forgiven, our condition can be corrected, and our restoration is completed. Only in Jesus Christ.

We see a clear picture of this trek in our story found in Mark 5:1-10 …

Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” 8 For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” 9 Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. 11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” 13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. 14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region. 18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. (NKJV)

It is no accident that verse 1 says, “They came to the other side of the sea.” Over 15 times in the gospel we read this phrase. It is because Jesus always directed His disciples to go where the work was to be done. It is on the “OTHER SIDE.” This day is noteworthy because as soon as He got out of the boat, His work began. Let me offer a panoramic view of this encounter, so we can see, feel, sense, and know, the work of Jesus because this is how He works, even today.

When I am finished, I am going to ask how this story applies to you. Perhaps your condition is not exactly like the demoniac, but certainly, you feel His pain because of what is hidden deep inside of you. Maybe you feel the need for Jesus’ compassion and cleansing. Or maybe you need to respond to call of Jesus on your life. Be aware, His invitation will be offered for you today. Let’s look at this thru the eyes of Jesus …

1. The Condition Jesus Saw

One of the things we must come to terms with this is, Jesus doesn’t look on people like we do. He sees people as people who, have His touch or people, who need His touch. Jesus comes to where we are desiring to take us where He wants us to be. He looked on this man and saw at least three parts of this man’s life.

A. A Healing that We Need

1. His Place – 2-3a

He saw a man ‘with an unclean spirit coming out of the tombs’. This is an entire sermon in itself. When the man had an unclean spirit, he lived where he felt at home. This man represents every one of us before we meet Jesus. Before Jesus we have an unclean spirit and we enjoy hanging out among the tombs, as it were. Don’t miss that Jesus saw this needy man, his condition, where he live, and even saw through to his heart. This is what Jesus does, He comes to where we are and see our condition.

B. His Power -3b-4

We could easily call this guy, Superman. When I read this, I am reminded of Star Wars and the “Power of Dark Side.” But to read the descriptive words (torn, smashed, subdue) is to realize that this man’s power came at a high cost. It came from his inner loneliness and …

C. His Pain – 5

He roamed his world crying out in agony & cutting himself because he was in such internal pain. Here’s the truth: it’s just like people outside of Christ, he didn’t understand why he was hurting or why he was hurting himself, so he simply acted on his instinct.

This condition that Jesus saw in this man is what He sees in so many today particularly in America. We commemorate the sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate cost of our freedom this weekend. Because of their sacrifice, we have freedom that few cultures know about or even understand. (Pray) But enjoying our freedom, too often, gives us the idea that we can control life, and all that goes along with it, but the truth is, before Jesus, we are kind of like this man, in pain, crying on the inside, lonely, and can’t put it into words.

Jesus sees and we see …

2. The Compassion Jesus Felt – vs 6-7

If you know Jesus at all, you know that this type of attitude touches the heart of Jesus, every time. One of the most well-known attributes of Jesus is compassion. Jesus taught compassion as a desired quality, but He also modeled compassion.

‘When He saw the multitude, He was moved’ – this meant He felt it in His heart.

In Mark 1 He touched the leper.

In Matthew 20 He touched the blind.

In our culture – He touched me and He will touch you.

But what is it that touches His heart? 3 things seen here …

A. Healing that We Need

i. The actions He saw

Here was a man in pain who came RUNNING to Jesus. The man knew he needed help; knew he was in over his head, and knew he was hopeless left to his own devices. So, He came RUNNING. Jesus saw this. But that’s not all …

ii. The words He heard

Admittedly, the prayer this man prayed was not your ‘everyday’ prayer, but it was born in a heart of desperation. Don’t miss this, our Lord always responds to attitude of desperation. The problem is that desperation comes to seldom and leaves too quickly. This man didn’t have time for a King James Prayer, he just blurted out the first words which came to mind. And it communicated to Jesus.

iii. The urgency He sensed

The actions and words told Jesus that this matter was urgent, it was now or never, because it was likely life or death. Jesus immediately spoke to the evil in this man & they knew they were leaving, the only question was where they were going.

 Verse 13 says, “Jesus gave them permission”. I like that! His compassion is ongoing, and His mercies are new every day.

We have long sung the song, “Jesus Loves Me.” His love reaches beyond the vilest, wildest, meanest, and nastiest to give us something special.

Since this message could be 2 messages, there are a couple of things to consider …

3. The Choice Jesus Made

Jesus always has choice or choices of response.

A. Compassion over Condemnation

In this story & in our lives, it would be easy for Holy God that He is to simply condemn evil. Instead, He shows compassion – ultimately by being crucified on a cross.

B. People over Pigs

Interestingly, people got mad that Jesus chose to save the man and kill the pigs. While it hurts to say, sometimes today people who do not look, act, talk, and walk like us are cast aside.

C. Miracle over Madness

He will do this every time because He is in the miracle working business. His miracles are about saving people. With this hurting man, Jesus’ choice was to SAVE HIS LIFE. That’s Jesus.

4. The Cleansing Jesus Gave

We’re talking about a man who lived among the tombs, in pain, filled with an evil spirit, likely smelled bad, talked bad, acted bad and likely went around half (or more) naked. Jesus …

Healing that We Need

A. Cleaned-Up His Body

The word is ‘dressed’, older translations use the word ‘clothed.” The point is that this stinky, smellie, obnoxious man who lived among the dead, was now alive. Likely, he had bathed because for the first time in years, he realized he needed a bath. Why did he know this and how did he know this? Because …

B. Cleared-up His Mind

This is my favorite statement; “and in his right mind.” That give me reason to be hopeful. The Bible tells us that when we trust in Jesus, we are changed by the ‘renewing of our minds.’ Think about what Jesus offers; ‘a clean-up body and a cleared-up mind.’

C. That is like, a Complete Makeover

Here is what I will tell you, Jesus takes us from the pit and ushered us into the Father’s palace, IF we trust Him with our lives. When we trust Him, things change, and they change drastically. Here’s a warning I need to give you – taken from the pages of scripture. Jesus gave this man a complete makeover, body-mind-soul- and look at verse 15d -17 – some people were afraid of the change and others didn’t like it. WHY? Well, who knows all the reasons, but one thing is perfectly clear to me from this story – those folks preferred the dirty ole, evil man in pain with the healthy pigs and you know how much these folks hated pigs. You see, some people will always despise what Jesus can and will do. But He does good work.


Today we have briefly walked through a story of how Jesus changed the life of one individual and learned of him taking a man from a pit to a place, from lost to found, from out of his mind to in his right mind from a graveyard to glory bound.

What Jesus did for this demon-possessed, highly troubled man, He will do for you today. He died the death of a sinner and rose from the dead, so you don’t have to die. He lives so that you can have life & have it to the fullest.

Final thought: Jesus saw the urgency in this man – He likely sees the urgency for you. What will you do?