And the wall came a tumblin’ down.

With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.”

Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”

And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” 10 Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place.

11 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. 12 “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.”

13 So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water. – Mark 5:7-13 

[See the larger context of this portion of the encounter below.]

Hold On! | Elissa Tall Ship in Galveston Historic Seaport | August 2020

Have you ever built a house of cards? I have. Not a very big one though. Two levels high. Two bases wide. Easily toppled. Not very impressive. Maybe you’ve seen them much higher and more impressive. Perhaps you’ve also seen even the most elaborate ones tumble down with only a slight touch. Houses of cards are built to impress, but not to withstand trouble. Not to stand for anything…except for a while.

Satan’s realm is a giant house of cards. It’s all hat no cattle. It’s all show no substance. I will not stand. I will cave in under its own weight. We can know this by looking at this encounter of Jesus with the demon-possessed man. Nothing in the demon’s behavior proves otherwise. 

They approach Jesus first of all. Why would they do this? They knew what he could do to them. They knew he had authority over the demons. They knew they could not stand up to his power or authority. They even beg not to be sent to the abyss (cf. Luke 8:31).

One minute they are seeking to gain control over Jesus by invoking his name. The next they are begging for mercy. They fail at exercising power over Jesus and beg for mercy in the face of their impending doom.

Their request for mercy is short-sighted as well – to say the least. They beg Jesus to send them into the nearby herd of pigs. The unclean animals sought refuge in unclean animals. Jesus obliges and they enter the pigs which rush into the sea. A fitting end for both. 

The abyss is referenced in Revelation 9:1, the bottomless pit into which Satan and all his minions will one day be cast. Being cast into the sea is an earthly manifestation of that future destiny. 

Lies. Evil intent. Every ungodly bond. Every visitation of death, sin, and disease will one day crash under its own weight. That’s good to remember when we’re tempted to build our own house of cards. Or when others’ evil strike fear impress us with their false bravado. It will all one day come tumblin’ down.

Jesus and his disciples arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.

When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.”

Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”

And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” 10 Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place.

11 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. 12 “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.”

13 So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

14 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. 15 A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. 16 Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. 17 And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone. – Mark 5:1-17

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