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The Safest Place

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Safe Places

The safest place in a tornado? basement, interior bathroom, closet, drainage ditch.
Your mom’s arms.
When you get older, your dad’s arms.
The safest place in a flood? High ground.
Basements in a tornado.
The safest place in a fire? Upwind.
High ground in a flood.
Earthquake? A door frame, outside away from buildings.
Upwind in a forest fire
It’s legitimate to fearfully respect these things.
Losing someone your care about. Losing your home and everything in it. The threats are real.
I’m not afraid of dying, but I am afraid of what will kill me. I might hurt.
For all of us there are things in the back of our mind that we are afraid will devastate us.
Physical pain, emotional pain, mental anguish, anxiety.
The causes might be different for all of us but we share the anxiety.
Safe places on college campuses got popular around the election.
There are fears we live with.
I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of what’s going to kill me. I might hurt.
I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of what’s going to kill me. I might hurt.
We fear suffering. Physical pain, emotional pain. anxiety, etc.
Some should be taken seriously.
Once we get to heaven the fears go away.
A young woman needs a safe place to go if she feels threatened by an man.
Do college students need a safe place to go b/c they are afraid b/c of who won an election?
There might be a bit of a credibility issue there.
Physical pain, emotional pain, mental anguish, anxiety.
The causes might be different for all of us but we share the anxiety.
There is a place where, even though life gets hard, we will be able to manage w/out crumbling under the pressure.
Where is the safest place?
The safest place in all the universe is close to Jesus.
Psalm 91:1–2 NIV
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Well, God is huge. So, He must cast a very long shadow.
How close do you need to be?
The reference in this verse means you are in the shadow of the Almighty at high noon.
How far does His shadow extend?
There is nothing we will ever encounter in our lifetime that Jesus cannot handle w/ a word.
He doesn’t even have to life a finger.
Are there limits to God’s power? Is there a scenario where He cannot, will not prevail on our behalf?
If your boat is sinking, but Jesus is in the boat w/ you, you’ll be fine. Unless Jesus hands you the bucket, stop bailing yourself.
If The Enemy has you and is wrecking your life stop trying to fight Him yourself.
As powerful as Satan and His demons are, you’d think maybe they could put up a good fight against Jesus. And, you’d think, they’d be especially tough if there were more than one of them.
No. Not at all. No match.
There is no safer place to be than close to Jesus no matter what this life brings your way.
Miracle #14. ; ; .



Jesus rejected by Israel
He came and presented Himself as the Messiah.
They rejected Him by accusing Him of working for Satan, the enemy.
So, when that door closed, another door opened.
The Church is going to be established and open to anyone who comes to Jesus.
So, now there’s a transition in Jesus’ work. He’s no longer presenting Himself as the Messiah of Israel.
He begins preparing the disciples for an extended period of service building the Church.
Part of the training is how to pass the torch from one generation to the next. B/C, this won’t be done in a short amount of time.
Another part of the training is preparing the disciple for the opposition they will face. There will be storms.
So, Jesus sent them into a storm to see how they would handle themselves.
They didn’t do so well.
He calmed the storm and the sea immediately w/ 3 words.
He scolded the disciples for panicking.
It was a serious situation, they all knew it.
The problem wasn’t that they woke Jesus up. It was that they panicked and thought He didn’t care about them.
But, this is only the first of 4 miracles that teach them an important lesson before they head out to build the church.


After the miracle we study today is 2 more.
Jesus raises a dead girl and He heals a woman who is sick and as good as dead.
Both of these we’ll study next week.
Then, there’s the immediate context. This is the setting of the miracle we’re studying today.


Mark 5:1 NIV
They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.
After calming the storm they arrive on the other side of the Sea of Galilee.
It’s a Gentile region.
They are immediately confronted with a man who is possess by a legion of demons.
Not just one, but many.
So, through and 5, covering 4 miracles, Jesus proves that there is no force in the universe that He cannot subdue w/ just a word.
He’s done these things before and will again.
But, this is when He begins to prepare His disciples, the 12 and us, to be able to survive the inevitable opposition we will face as we build His Church.
Where are we the safest when we are threatened the greatest?
In the shadow of the Almighty at high noon.
This is the story of a man who found his safest place.


Mark 5:2–6 NIV
When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 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. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.


Immediately after the experience of the storm on the Sea they land and get off the boat.
They land in a area where there are natural caves.
The locals used the caves as places to bury their dead. They didn’t dig into the ground, they used caves.
It was an eerie place. There was an odor from the decomposing bodies in the tombs.
Your senses are offended immediately.
And a man runs up who is possessed by evil.
And a man runs up who is possessed by evil.
He was crazed and according to Luke, naked.
Their sensed were offended on numerous levels.


Super human strength. Not his own, but from the demons that possessed him.
They tried every human means possible to subdue him and restrain him. None worked
The ppl in the region were terrified of him.
Matthew: The ppl wouldn’t even pass this way. He was violent to himself and others.
He was isolated among the tombs. Death saturated him and surrounded him.
He was a scary guy who cowered before no one, until he made contact w/ Jesus.


The demon had total control over the man. The man didn’t speak or act unless it was the demon prompting him.
So, when the man feel face down in front of Jesus it was the demon who forced him to do it
At the sight of Jesus, he ran up and bowed down.
He didn’t bow in worship or acceptance. He bowed in fear and submission to his power and authority.
In that setting, Jesus confronted the evil that possessed the man.
Since the man was incapacitated, Jesus spoke directly to the demon.


Mark 5:7–13 NIV
He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
Mark 5:


The demons knew exactly Who Jesus is.
“Son of the Most High God.”
There is no question in their mind that all this is true about Jesus. They believe it. They believe Him.
But, they don’t believe IN Him.
As God Himself, He has the power and authority to torture and destroy them. So they beg Him not to.
There is no power in the universe they would be afraid except the power of God.
They recognize Jesus as much more than just a Miracle-Worker. There is no reason for them to fear except that Jesus is God Himself.
Jesus recognized who He was talking to but He wanted them to ID themselves.
“Legion.” We are many.
No indication of exactly how many demons were present but there are a couple of clues.
There were 6000 fighting men in a legion of Roman soldiers.
There were 2000 pigs in the herd.
So, 1 demon per pig? 3 demons per pig? 1 demon for every 2 pigs? Impossible to say. But, there were a lot.
But, there were a lot.
There was only 1 Jesus. And you see who is cowering before Whom.
And there was only 1 Jesus.
Everybody recognized everybody else here. But, the demons did not recognize what time it was.


Here, Mark says they didn’t want to be cast out of the region. They liked it there and were having some success.
Matthew says they were afraid it was time to cast them into the Abyss.
That’s an end-time reference. They think it might be the very end of them.
The future:
7-year trib
Thousand year reign of Jesus.
At the beginning Satan and his demons are bound.
At the end they are let loose for one final battle and Jesus casts every evil being into the Abyss never to return.
God comes down and takes His place on the throne w/ Jesus at His right hand and we live forever w/out any more demonic trouble.
To the demons, anything is better than the Abyss.
There’s the herd of pigs.
Jesus had already commanded them out and gave them permission to go into the pigs.
The pigs immediately self-destruct. That’s what happens to anyone who is possessed by a demon.
What happens next to the demons? Impossible to say.
If this were the point there would be more about it.
There is the point that thousands of demons we commanded by Jesus to do what He wanted them to do and there was nothing they could do about it.
Then, there is the point of the reaction of the people.
Not the first time the reactions are important to understand.


Mark 5:14–17 NIV
Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
Mark 5:14-


The community gained the man back.
He was dressed and in his right mind.
He has experienced the super human strength of the demons and now experienced the supernatural strength of God.
His head must be spinning.
He received his life back. He met Jesus and was saved.
He was saved from torment then and forever. He wasn’t just given his old life back, he was given new life.
There were gains to be celebrated but no one was celebrating that day. The man didn’t have the strength.
And, the people were more concerned about what they lost to celebrate what they had gained.


2000 pigs died that day. That was a significant financial loss.
Up to this point it has been a big deal that Israel as a group rejected Jesus, though a few individuals accepted Him.
Now, Jesus is in a Gentile region and the group is rejecting Him, too.
It’s not like there was this warm embrace from all the Non-Jews once the Jews rejected Him.
His message was hard for every group to accept.
They lost their pigs and their value that day. And, they gave away their opportunity to accept Jesus.
They were angry.
Jesus was more concerned about the man and the people were more concerned about the pigs.
They were okay w/ the demons in the man b/c they could avoid him. Out of sight, out of mind.
They were not okay w/ Jesus delivering the man and destroying the pigs.
Similar to the Jewish reaction. Jesus was more concerned about the man and the Jewish leadership was more concerned that the man was breaking their laws by carrying his mat on the Sabbath.
Here, the group rejected Jesus. But, there was one individual who accepted Him.
After the man was delivered from the demons, he wanted to follow Jesus like the disciples did.
Jesus wouldn’t let him.
He wouldn’t let him go w/ them. He could still follow Jesus, but He could follow Him right where He was.


Mark 5:18–20 NIV
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
Sometimes Jesus calls us to leave, sometimes He calls us to stay.
He told the man to stay and tell his story. Testify.
Communicate w/ everyone you encounter what Jesus did for you this day.
The way this reads is he didn’t just casually talk about it. He preached. He spoke w/ energy and passion about the power of Jesus and how it saved him that day.
Acts 1:8 NIV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
This region was this man’s end of the earth where he had the opportunity to tell the story of his personal experience when he encountered Jesus that day.
The people would see the difference. He would be able to fill in the gaps now that he controlled his speech and actions.
You may think that this would have been billed as the battle of the century. But it was a blow out. No contest.
Jesus faced down the demons and saved the man w/out lifting a finger. He spoke just a few words.
There is nothing that we will encounter in our lifetime that Jesus cannot subdue w/ a word.
The safest place we can be is in the shadow of the Almighty at high noon.
So, then, where does our trouble come from?
We live in a fallen world. Things just happen.
We make poor decisions or get caught up in the shrapnel of others’ poor decisions.
Jesus sends us into storms to test us so we can discover how much more we can trust Him and learn our own limits.
In the midst of each of these situations Satan is there to torment us and tempt us to short-circuit God’s process.
One of his biggest lies is, “You’ll be happier if you follow me.” And, “You deserve better.”
He plays on an emptiness, or a desire for something to be different.
He deceives us to thinking that his way is better than God’s.
If we follow, our disobedience leads to more trouble.
Then, something dies. A relationship, career, finances, etc.
God is the source of life. Everything in His presence lives.
Jesus has transitioned His ministry to prepare us disciples to build the church during this extended period until He returns.
Now, unless Jesus gives you the bucket stop bailing your boat yourself.
Stop trying to bind Satan on your own. There is nothing that you can do to bind him.
If you’re w/ Jesus, let Him fight your battles for you.
B/C, there is no force that you will ever encounter that Jesus cannot subdue w/ a word.



Tell your story.
What has been your personal experience w/ Jesus. You’ve been changed by His power and saved by His blood.
Let everyone who will listen hear what you have to say.

Demons destroy

Whatever demons come in contact w/ they destroy.
Don’t give them an opening in any are of your life.
Don’t believe their lies. Nothing is worth short-cutting God’s process in your life.
1 Peter 5:8 NIV
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Respect him, don’t fear him. Let Jesus fight your battles w/ him.

Stay in your safe place

We tend to wear ourselves out in battles we were never meant to fight.
We stress over things we don’t control.
When we wander away and try on our own we get beat up.
The most important thing we can do is pursue a deeper relationship w/ Jesus. Everything else will take care of itself.
Stay in the shadow of the Almighty at high noon.
There is security in knowing that Jesus, by Himself, took on a Legion of demons and won w/out lifting a finger.
What else could destroy us if Jesus speaks for us?
There are no limits to his power.
We may not like what He does. And, we may still get hurt.
But, nothing will devastate us or destroy us as long as we stay close to Jesus.
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