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.
“No man could bind him, no, not with chains”
Isn’t this interesting. Here is a man that nobody could capture with chains. And yet here is a man who could not free himself from the chains he was in. No one could lock him up. He could not set himself free. Their chains were visible, his chains were invisible.There are a number of interesting lessons here but maybe we will just mention a few.
1. Some of the worst chains that bind us don’t come from people, they come from ourselves
This passage says that this man had often been taken by people and bound with “fetters and chains”, and yet every time they did, this man literally snapped the chains and tore apart the fetters. The strongest of men could not control this man. And yet this man was not strong enough to control himself. I have met many people who are struggling with addictions and sins in their life. So often when things are falling apart, they want to blame everybody else for everything and yet the real problem is themselves.
2. Some of the worst turmoil comes from inside, not the outside.
This passage says that no man could “tame” him. There was no way that the outside could be brought under control, because the inside was unstable. Some people try all kinds of things to create peace in their life. They do things, buy things, read things, and depend on things only to continue to have chaos in their life. it is because they’re trying to create peace on the outside when there is no peace on the inside. What is inside always comes out. Look at verse five:
* 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
“Night and day”.
3. When you cannot break the chains, go to the One who can
“6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him”. As hard as this man had tried, he could not free himself. So instead of trying harder, he simply went to Jesus. You know how the story ends. Here is the point. Spiritual chains cannot be broken with physical strength. It is a spiritual battle, and spiritual battles must be fought by the Spirit of God.
* 15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
* Isn’t it interesting that none of these people were afraid while that man was a lunatic, but all of a sudden when he gets saved, now they are afraid. Think about that one.
Most of this chapter deals with the “parable of the sower”. In it, Jesus describes some possible scenarios of the seed after it has been spread by the sower. In this story, we are to be the sowers and the seed we spread is to be the Word of God. When we “spread” the seed, Jesus says these are the possible things that will happen:
1. The seed falls on the side of the road and birds come and eat the seed before it even has the chance to grow.
2. The seed falls on ground that is covered more with stones than it is with dirt, and the seed never grows because it never takes root in the nutrients.
3. The seed falls on thorny ground where the seed begins to grow, but the thorns choke it so it never grows enough to bear any fruit.
4. The seed falls on good, fertile ground and the seed takes root immediately and begins to grow and flourish and become fruitful.
Now there are a lot of things we can learn from this passage but let me just mention something that is often overlooked. Notice that Jesus was saying that the seed needed to be sewn in all four of these “grounds”. Yes, there is certain ground where the seed will grow better, but you and I do not need to pick and choose the ground, we just need to be faithful to sow the seed. There might be times where we witness and share God’s Word with some that will immediately receive it and begin to grow and become fruitful. Then there are times that we do the same thing with some people that never seem to ever grow.
The point is that you and I cannot become discouraged by the seed that we sow that never takes root. We must continue to spread the seed of God’s Word because it will eventually find place in individuals that will be “good ground” for it to take root.
* 26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground
We “should cast seed into the ground”. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t grow like we think it should. After all, if we quit planting seed because some didn’t grow, then we are guaranteed that nothing ever will grow. The more seed we spread, the more chance there is for fruit to grow.
1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. 2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him…….
5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
Verse two says “and they watched him”. Just a good reminder today that we are always being watched. Jesus was watched by the religious leaders so that they could try to catch Him and accuse Him of wrongdoing. There may be occasions where we are watched by others for that same reason. Sometimes, however, we are just being watched because people know we are Christians. They want to see if our faith is real, if we are real, and if our God is real. Remind yourself that someone may be watching you today that needs Christ. If we will remember that, we will behave ourselves in a different way.
Notice also here in verse five that Jesus was grieved because of the hardness of the religious leaders hearts. Sometimes we might be guilty of thinking that if we simply follow rules, live a certain way, perform all of our religious rituals, that God will be pleased with us. You and I need to be reminded that our heart is the real issue. What grieved Jesus most was not their hypocrisy, it was the hardness of their hearts. You and I can do everything right on the outside, but God is grieved when he senses hardness on the inside.
How is your heart today? That’s a good question to ask ourselves every day. I’ll put it this way; when our heart becomes hard, either we can make it right, or God will.
16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
18 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?
19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
20 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days
There is so much in this chapter that we could comment on. What a wonderful story about the four men that let their friend who was bed stricken down through the roof of that house. What a site that must’ve been. Not everybody was happy about that though. There’s always somebody that doesn’t like what the Lord is doing.
Then the religious leaders were upset because they saw Jesus eating with publicans and sinners. Isn’t that amazing that that is the worst thing they could come up with about Jesus, that He loved the down and out individuals. Wouldn’t it be great if more of us did? Then they criticized the fact that Jesus’ disciples did not fast like the other religious people did. This is His response:
19…Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
20 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
Jesus was saying that there was no need to fast in order to get closer to Christ when Christ is already with you. You see, the disciples did not need to fast to get closer to Christ because they were with Him every day. But Jesus said that “the days will come” when He would not be here in physical presence and that’s when they would need to fast.
So this is important for you and I. Have you considered fasting recently in your life? Are you needing a spiritual breakthrough. Is there a burden on your heart that you are carrying. Jesus said that fasting would be needed in the days ahead. We are in those days now. Consider today if there are some things in your life that you need to fast from to grow closer to Jesus today. Just a thought! Maybe we should skip a meal, or skip a TV program, or skip 45 minutes on Facebook to spend some time with Christ.
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins……. 6 And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; 7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost…….
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
The first comment I would like to make is what a site John the Baptist must have been. God goes out of His way to even comment in His Word specifically about what John the Baptist wore and what he looked like. The passage even tells us what he ate. It seems odd that were given these details about John, when these details are rarely given about individuals in the Bible. I guess that God is making the point that John looked different, acted different, and made quite an impression. Maybe God was also making the point that we should not judge a book by its cover.
As the forerunner to Christ, John taught two principles in verse seven that are powerful. When speaking of Christ, John said “There cometh one mightier than I after me”. It would serve each of us well today to begin by remembering that God is mightier than us. You can take Him on if you want to, and fight against Him if you wish to, but you will not win. One of the greatest things that you and I can share with others is how weak we are, and how strong God is. Encourage them that we fail, but God does not. Teach them that Christians will fail them, but Christ never will. I am thankful today that God is mightier than I.
John then says in this verse, “I am not worthy”. He goes even further to say that he was not worthy to even loosen the shoes on Jesus’ feet. You and I should remember today that God is mighty, and we are not. We also need to remember that God is worthy, and we are not. God is worthy to get all the glory, and we are not worthy to get any of the glory. Has it bothered you lately that you did not get noticed, thanked, appreciated, or mentioned for some deed or service that you performed? Have you been bothered that you did not get the credit for something that you did?
What is interesting to me, as you see John for cleaning Christ exactly the way he was supposed to, we see that John was put in prison. Just a reminder today that you can do what’s right, and even what God tells you to do, and difficult things can still come your way. Let’s go out today and tell people that God is mighty, that God is worthy, and let’s not be surprised if some difficulty comes our way. Remember when it does that God is stronger than you are.