Jesus – What Are You Doing Here?

| August 23, 2017

The Gospel of Mark chapter 5 records the account of Jesus healing a man possessed by a Legion of Demons.   We will rightly focus our attention on the Lord and on the demonic, but we should not miss the significance of the place.

The accounts in the Gospels occur in Roman Palestine, in a small area geographically, but with a crazy quilt of political entities.  Most of the story happens in Galilee, on the northern and western side of the Sea of Galilee.  The trial, death and resurrection of Jesus happened in Judea in the south.

The events of Mark 5 are different.  They occur in a region on the southern and eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, in a region called the Decapolis – which means the ten cities – each independent of Galilee, Judea, or even of each other.

This region was vastly different culturally from Galilee or Judea, and it was not Jewish at all.  It had never been part of the kingdom of Herod the Great.  Rome had greatly encouraged its growth and independence, importing Hellenistic values, building cosmopolitan centers linked together with Roman roads.  The economy was booming and what passed for religion there was the most secular and politically correct faith imaginable — worship of the emperor.

One of the ten was Gadara, a large city five plus miles southeast of the Sea, where extensive ruins can still be seen showing the size and importance of the city.  It dominated the region, which was called the.  It is here that the events of Mark 5 took place.

In Mark 4: 35 Jesus said to His disciples “ Let us cross over to the other side.”  On “the other side” is a land outside of political boundaries of Galilee and Judea, and a place Roman to its core.  There is nothing Jewish about it at all.

The account is Mark 5 is famous because Jesus sent the Legion of demons into a herd of swine.  The herd was more than 2,000 pigs.  We read of herdsmen, those who fed the pigs.  These pigs are a domesticated part of the economy and part of the diet of the city.

This place is not Jewish at all.  When Jesus told His disciples to cross over to the other side, the journey was more than 12 miles of open water – it was crossing political lines, racial lines, and cultural lines.

When Jesus arrived on the other side of the Sea, there met Him a man from the tombs, tormented by a Legion of demons.  His first words were not a cry for help, but rather “What have I to do with You, Jesus?”    Or in other words – Jesus what are You doing here?  You are not supposed to be HERE.

That is a question that the world asks today, in different places and different contexts, but it is essentially the same question.

Many people think the Gospel belongs within the walls of the church.  Take it in the business community, take it into the schools, take it into government – and voices will be raised like the voice of the Legion – what does this have to do with us – here in our secular, politically correct world?

What does Jesus and the Bible and the Gospel have to do with business, or what could be its role in government – what is Jesus doing here?

This is not just the words of the Legion but the words of people from the city.  We read in Mark 5: 17 that they told Jesus to “depart from their region.” Matthew tells us that “the whole city” came out to ask Jesus to depart.    Luke says it was “the whole multitude from the surrounding region” that told Him to leave.

This chapter in Mark might sound strange, weird, and far away, but put it in modern dress, and it is a very current story.

As Jesus got into the boat to depart, the man He had healed begged to come with Him.

But Jesus did not permit Him, and told him “Go home to your friends and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you….” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him.”

When he started to tell this story, he was the only one.  There is one mention in Matthew of some people from the Decapolis who had come to Galilee to hear Jesus, but from what we can tell, this man was the only one, in the entire region, who would witness for Christ.

On the other side of Sea, up the Galilee, each town had a synagogue, in which the Law of Moses was studied and taught; and where the prophets regularly read.  In Galilee and in Judea the Passover and other feasts were observed.  Seventy disciples were out two by two preaching the kingdom of God, and empowered to do miracles.  And there was Jesus Himself, going through the cities, the towns, the villages, the hamlets, with the same purpose and determination to seek the lost that had brought Him to the land of the Gadarenes.

All of that is happening on the northern and western shores of the sea.  On the other side, in that secular world, with its politically correct religion, Jesus had been there for one day and there is just this one man.

This man cannot teach from Moses or the prophets because this is a gentile culture where they don’t know Moses or the prophets.

He is not empowered to do miracles.  He has no support team, he has no financial backers, he has no ministry structure.  He is armed only with his testimony.

But when Jesus came back a second time to the Decapolis great multitudes wanted to see Him, bringing Him the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others. (Mark 7: 31, Matthew 15: 30, 31).

Do not ever underestimate the value of your testimony.  Do not ever underestimate the value of what you do and say for Jesus Christ.  For we will go to, and work in, and live in, the places where they think Jesus is not supposed to be.

Category: Faith

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Email | Website | Thomas Schetelich is a founding principal in the law firm of Ferguson, Schetelich & Ballew in Baltimore, Maryland, and a member of the United States Supreme Court Bar. He heads both the firm’s corporate/ business law practice and its personal legal services department. He is an AV rated attorney awarded for highest standards of professional skill and ethical practice. Mr. Schetelich devotes much of his practice to assisting charitable and religious organizations, and is the President of The Christian Professional Network. He is a frequent speaker on Biblical and legal matters throughout the United States.