Mark 5:1-5 “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.”
This past Wednesday evening, as I was preparing to study, this scripture awakened in me. I read it as though I had read it for the first time and I love it! Every time you read the Scripture it seems like it is the first time you are reading the passage. It is just refreshing and the urge is to continue reading. In this portion of the Scripture, I am using for today’s message we will unearth some real facts about this man from the tombs.
Here, we read about a man who was…
#1 in the mountains
#2 living among the tombs
#4 cutting himself with stones
All of these things are significant and bring understanding as to why he was so tormented.
The mountains represent his position. Mountains here mean to be “lifted up above” the plain, to rise or to “rear”. To expiate (to put an end to or try to extinguish the guilt of) sin or give satisfaction for sin. To make atonement. In other words, this man had put himself in a position of atoning for his own sin.
And then there were the tombs. The tombs surprised me. Of course, we know that they are a place of death or a place of memorializing the dead but it’s so much more than that. Those tombs are symbolic of remembrance. The word tomb, when translated in the GREEK, means to excercise the memory, to recollect, to punish, rehearse or recall to mind. It is a fixture in the mind or a mental grasp. It would represent a place in our mind where we “hold” dead things, dead works and sinful acts.
Next, we see that he was continually crying. Of course, the first thing we think of is that he must have been crying out for mercy and in repentance but not so. That word cry actually translates, to cry out or pray for vengeance. He was crying out for punishment.
And last but not least, he was cutting himself with stones. We read in the word that when Moses brought the law to the people, he brought it forth on tablets of stone. (Exodus 31:18) So I conclude that the stones represent the law or what would be the “letter” as stated in 2 Corinthians 3:5-11. Take a look…
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter (the law or ten commandments), but of the spirit (grace): for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones (the law) , was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit (grace) be rather glorious?
For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
You see, he was cutting himself with the law, trying to keep what he in himself couldn’t! Trying to do, be, say, act and work, work, work! Every time he failed…another cut! And every time he cut himself, an entrance was made for the enemy. The more he condemned himself, the less life he actually possessed and the more the enemy took up residence. He was in fact ministering death to himself there among the tombs!
And not only did he imprison himself but those who tried to “help” him had also…perhaps not even realizing. It says in verse 4 that often he had been bound with chains and fetters. The chains were for the hands and the fetters were for the feet. Those who were trying to help him were also addressing his “works” because that is what the hands and the feet would represent. In a sense, chains and fetters made the statement, “Stop doing that!”, only strengthening his “works” mentality! He would “break” the limitations again and again! The word says that no man could “tame” him and his friend, that’s because no man can “tame” us.
But just look what happened! Jesus stepped off the boat! Grace visited him! And what did grace cause him to do? Run? Yes! It caused him to run all right! Right to Jesus and worship Him! He fell at the Word’s feet with the sincerest of devotion! And verse 15 tells us that after that, he was delivered, he was sitting, clothed and in his right mind!
His tomb became empty! That place where he had been holding himself hostage had to release him into the life and righteousness of Jesus Christ! Glory to God!