1 And it happened that He was going through every city and village, preaching and proclaiming
good news of the Kingdom of G-d. And the twelve are with Him.
2 And certain women, who were healed of evil spirits and infirmities (Mary who is called
Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone forth,
3 and Joanna wife of Chuza, steward of Herod, and Susanna) and many others who were
ministering to them from their substance.
In these verses Luke begins a new section to his Gospel. The main reason Luke introduces these
women into his Gospel at this point is to prepare us for their later appearance in the story of the
crucifixion and resurrection. Verses 2 and 3 are one continuous sentence and it is not easy to
determine if Jesus had cast demons out of Mary Magdalene, Johanna and Susanna, or if Mary
Magdalene was delivered of demons and the other two women were healed of sicknesses. In fact the
sentence could be read to say that these three women, and all the many others (verse 3), were also
delivered of demons and healed. Part of the reason for the ambiguity is that Luke does not really
recognise any difference between the two actions (healing and deliverance). Since deliverance is
often necessary in order to receive healing, the two ministries are often closely linked to each other.
Although we tend to think of healing and deliverance from demons as being quite different acts,
we must see that the Bible does not make much of a distinction between healing and deliverance.
Today we see how eager people are to testify that they got healed, but how many people have you
heard testify that they got delivered from a demon? I think people are much more reluctant to admit to
such a thing. In Jesus’ day it was not shameful for a Jewish individual to be set free from demons.
Deliverance from demons is just as normal and important as being healed from sickness. In the Bible
an individual was sometimes healed of their sickness by having a demon cast out of them. In fact it
literally says in the Greek text that people were saved from their demons and saved from their
sickness. The Jews thought that sickness came through sin. We see evidence of this in the epistle of
Jacob. 143 It meant that if you were sick, there may have been sin in your life. It could have been your
own sin or an iniquity on the part of your parents or your grandparents (until the fourth generation).
But in Jewish thought all men were susceptible to sin, so it was not considered shameful to be
suffering for the consequences of sin.
In many cases when a Christian testifies that they have been healed, it is no different than
admitting that there was sin in their lives. A demon can also enter a person because of their sin, so
what is the difference? In both cases the person is testifying that they have been set free from sin.
Some Christians need to change their theology about sickness, healing and deliverance.
Everything G-d does is good, and if you have had a demon cast out of you, you have a
responsibility to testify about it. So I will testify about my situation. I suffered with constant,
agonising back pain for years. When I awoke in my bed in the morning, I was often frozen in position
by the pain. I had numerous people pray for me and I would only get temporary relief. One day while
I was reading my Bible, I came to the passage about the woman who had a spirit of infirmity.
Something inside of me said, “That’s your problem.” My response did not show great faith at that
moment. I said “If that’s my problem, then I know what to do. If this is a demon, leave in the name of
Jesus!” Now that was not exactly a great prayer of faith—IF, IF. I did not know if a demon was really
the source of my pain. Often when you are in pain, you will try everything. Now I felt nothing at the
time. However, when I got out of bed the next morning I was free of pain. You cannot heal a demon.
For decades I had notable Pentecostal and Charismatic ministers praying for me, but they prayed for
me to be healed. All I needed was to be told it was a demon, and to cast it out.
Looking in the Gospel of Matthew, we see that an evil spirit cannot enter anyone at will.
43 And when the unclean spirit comes out of a man, it goes through waterless places seeking rest
and does not find any.
44 Then it says, “I shall return to my house from whence I came”. And coming back it finds it
unoccupied, swept and put in order.
45 Then it goes and takes with it seven different spirits, more wicked than itself, and they come in
and dwell there. And the last condition of that person becomes worse than the former. Thus it will
be also for this evil generation”.
Verse 43 says that the unclean spirit goes about unable to find another home. An evil spirit is not
able to enter into someone unless it has a legitimate reason to do so. When the demon could not find
another person to enter, he decided to re-enter his home. Notice that the demon considered the body
from which he was expelled to be his own personal territory. Now that the home was clean and set in
order but unoccupied, the demon gathered seven other spirits more wicked than himself to share the
home with him. Nothing positive had happened to the man who had received deliverance, in fact his
situation was now at least eight times worse. The key to the problem is found in the word
unoccupied. Had the demon returned to his former home (the man) and found it occupied, he would
not have been able to enter the man again. But because there had been no change in the man, the
reason that the evil spirit had for originally entering him had not changed. This gave the evil spirit the
right to re-enter the man.
We must note that once a demon has entered a person, there is real danger that he will invite other
evil spirits to join him. That indicates that not every demon that enters a person does so because the
person has sinned. Once a person becomes demonised, it can start a process which allows other
demons admittance in order to fulfil their lusts through the person. This is the process of internal
temptation, which we will look at later.
It is important to refrain from ministering deliverance to people who are not willing to change. If
you minister deliverance to an unbeliever and they remain in an unbelieving state, you are simply
cleaning their house and setting it in order, with the end result that more demons can enter that person.
So deliverance should principally be ministered only to believers, and such believers as are willing
to change and move ahead in the Kingdom of G-d.
Whenever you cast an evil spirit out of an individual, you have the responsibility to ensure that
their swept home is filled with another spirit, the Holy Spirit.
In the Gospel of Mark we have the account of Jesus and the Gadarene demoniac. This is a very
significant story because it is the first time we see Jesus ministering deliverance to someone who is
not in a covenant relationship with the G-d of Israel. So this story becomes the example of how to
minister deliverance to an unbeliever.
..1 And they came to the other side of the sea, to the region of the Gerasenes.
..2 And He came out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit immediately met Him from out of the
..3 who dwelled in the tombs. And no one was able to bind him, even with chains.
..4 Because many times he was fetters and bound with chains. And the chains had been pulled in
pieces by him. And the fetters broken in pieces. And none was able to tame him.
..5 And always, night and day, in the mountains, and in the tombs he was, crying and cutting
himself with stones.
..6 And, seeing Jesus at a distance, he ran and bowed before Him.
..7 And calling with a loud voice, he said, “What is between us and to you, Jesus, Son of the Most
High G-d? I adjure you by G-d, you do not afflict me!”
..8 For He said to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man”.
..9 And He questioned him, “What is your name?” And he answered saying, “Legion is my name,
because we are many”.
10 And he entreated Him greatly that He should not send him out of the country.
11 And a large heard of swine were feeding there near the mountain.
12 And they entreated Him saying, “Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them”.
13 And He immediately permitted them. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered into the swine.
And the herd rushed down the precipice into the sea, about 2,000 of them. And they were drowned
in the sea.
Jesus has left the territory of Israel and is ministering to a Gentile. We see that although this man
was not in covenant relationship to G-d, he could still be set free from his demonic problem. Since
this situation concerns a Gentile, we need to examine the story fully in order to see what is required
of unbelievers if they wish to be set free from demonic control.
Before going any further, it needs to be established that the man with the legion of demons was
indeed a Gentile, which can be confirmed by making a connection between this story in Mark and a
passage in the book of Isaiah. Mark deliberately makes references to this passage in Isaiah in his
account of the Gadarene demoniac. However, we must first look at a passage in Paul’s letter to the
19 But I say, “Did not Israel know?” First Moses says, “I will provoke you to jealousy by a nonnation.
By a senseless nation I will anger you”.
20 And Isaiah is very bold, and says, “I was found by those not seeking Me. I am manifest to those
not inquiring after Me”.
Here in Romans Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 30.14 and Isaiah 65.1 to establish the fact that
both Moses and Isaiah are speaking of the Gentiles. This is an illustration of a classic Jewish concept
that the prophets are commentators on the Torah. So we will see that Paul is indicating that in Isaiah
65 the prophet is expanding on the passage in Deuteronomy 30, and that Isaiah is speaking about
So let us look at the first four verses of Isaiah chapter 65 with the understanding that they are
referring to Gentiles.
1 “I am inquired of by those who asked Me not. I am found by those who did not seek Me. I said,
‘Here I am, here I am’, to a nation not calling My name.
2 “I have spread out My hands daily to a stubborn people, who are going in the way that is not good,
after their own thoughts.
3 “This is a people that continually provoke Me to My face, continually offering in gardens and
burning incense on the bricks.144
4 “Who dwell among tombs, and lodge among rocks. Who eat the flesh of swine, and the broth of
abominable things is in their vessels”.
If you remember, earlier we looked at the Septuagint text of Isa. 65.3 which reads:
This is a people that continually provoke Me in My presence. They offer sacrifices in gardens
and burn incense on bricks to demons that do not exist.
In this passage we have a description of a Gentile who was not seeking G-d, but was found by Gd.
Throughout the Bible we find examples of the fact that unless G-d chooses us we cannot find Him.
G-d is always the One who initiates contact with the sinner. The Gentile in Mark’s story lived among
the tombs and rocks; he ate the flesh of pigs and worshipped demons. Exactly the same wording that
we find in Isaiah 65.4. Knowing this information is the key to our understanding of the New Testament
story about the demoniac with the legion of demons.
First we have to see the position of this man as measured by the Torah. The man was a Gentile,
living in the region of Decapolis, which was an area that had been taken from Israel by the Romans
and given to the Gentiles. G-d curses any one who takes His land and gives it to the Gentiles, and
furthermore He curses any Gentile who would live in land taken from the Jews. The situation of the
Decapolis region of Jesus’ day is somewhat the same as that of Judea and Samaria (the so-called
West Bank) today.
The demonised man was living among the tombs, which made him unclean in every possible way.
Entering a graveyard automatically causes someone to be unclean. Worshipping demons is an
abomination to G-d and is considered to be rebellion against Him. Remember that we are all
descendants of Noah, who was a worshipper of G-d. So Gentiles who do not worship G-d are in
rebellion to the G-d of their ancestors. So as far as Jesus and His disciples were concerned, this man
with the legion of demons was as far from G-d as it was possible to be.
The rabbis give four combined elements of behaviour that must be evident for an individual to be
considered insane: they will run around outside at night; they enter a cemetery at night; they will tear
their clothes; they will destroy things that are given to them. From the description given of the man in
Mark chapter 5, we can say that he met all the criteria needed to be labelled as insane.
So why was Jesus willing to minister deliverance to this Gentile? The answer is seen in this
Mark 5.6 And, seeing Jesus at a distance, he ran and bowed before Him.
The man with the legion of demons came and bowed down before Jesus. We are not told how he
knew who Jesus was, but we do know that the fame of Jesus had spread throughout the whole region
of Decapolis.145 Even if the man had heard about Jesus, we do not know how he recognised Jesus
when he encountered Him. But by bowing down to Jesus the man was worshipping Jesus and he
acknowledged that Jesus was from G-d, and at that moment Jesus could help him. We also see in this
verse that although the man behaved wildly much of the time, there were some moments where he was
in control of his mind and body.
Almost immediately a demon within the man took control of his voice and spoke. There are no
examples in the New Testament of demons talking without using the vocal chords of humans. This
demon used the same words that we found in the story in Luke 4.34 and Mark 1.24. He said (Mark
5.7), “What is between us and to you?” The fact that demons in different places responded to Jesus
using these same words also confirms that the demons had a common source of spiritual knowledge,
coming from some form of spiritual communication within the demonic realm. If the demons had just
been reacting to Jesus out of fear, they would not have used this same phrase.
As was the case in previous stories, this demon also knew who Jesus was. The demon called
Jesus “Son of the Most High G-d”. It is interesting that (as far as I can tell) in the Septuagint the term
Most High G-d is only used by Gentiles. 146 In the Old Testament the term is used by Melchizedek, by
Balaam, and by Nebuchadnezzar. Even more interestingly, Lucifer uses the term Most High G-d in
Isaiah 14.14. The expression (Most High G-d) is only found three times in the New Testament: once
in Mark’s story that we just read; in Acts 16.17 (where the words are spoken by the woman who had
the python spirit); then in Hebrews 7.1, in reference to Melchizedek. It appears that the demon in the
Gadarene demoniac was aware of the proper way that non-Jews referred to the G-d of Israel.
After acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of G-d, the demon then appealed to Jesus, in the name
of the Father, not to torment him, “I adjure you by G-d, you do not afflict me!” Since the demon had
acknowledged Jesus as the Son of G-d, the demon called upon Jesus in the Name of the Father.
Possibly the demon was pleading with Jesus because he was fearful of becoming homeless once he
was cast out of the man. Because we cannot trust demons to tell the truth, we must not conclude from
what the demon said that Jesus has the authority to torment the demons. Demons are liars and if we
formulated doctrines based on what they speak, we would be guilty of receiving doctrines of demons.
In this story Jesus does not command the demon to be silent and not reveal His identity. The
reason may have been that only Jesus and His disciples were present, although at this point Jesus’
disciples had not yet realised that He was the Son of G-d. But we see that it is not always necessary
to tell demons to be silent.
Jesus commanded the demon to come out of the man, but the demon did not come out immediately,
but instead tried to bargain with Jesus. Jesus responded by asking the demon its name. However, after
that there was no further conversation between Jesus and the demons. Although the demons spoke to
Jesus, He did not respond to them. Jesus never engaged in lengthy conversations with demons and
there is no Scriptural basis for us to converse with demons.