BackgroundThe Gospel of Mark authorship dates in the first century. Mark's gospel represents the first written gospel out of the four in the New Testament. Mark purposefully uses Peter's account to make the good news accessible to the Gentiles, to encourage those facing persecution, to defend the faith, and to explain the significance of the cross. In formulating the significance of the cross, Mark not only establishes Jesus' messiahship, but his divinity throughout his gospel. In particular, Mark 5:1-20 reveals Jesus' divinity and authority, during his interaction with the demonic man. Mark elaborately foretells this encounter to indicate that demon possession distorts and destroys the image of God in man. In this interaction, Mark demonstrates that Jesus not only has sovereign authority, but also triumphantly brings salvation. Jesus circumvents the fear of the town's people who bind the man in chains. They contend that bondage would protect them from his violence. He was mad and should not wreak havoc in their lives.
ContextChristians examine in our lives the difference it would make if we meditated on Christ's authority. I am confident that meditation on this fact will foster confidence. It will allow us to take more risks or do the impossible for God in our everyday lives. It would allow us to speak more boldly to others, especially about the Gospel of Christ. It will allow us to interact with others without fear. For instance, I felt oppressed during a specific job. I encountered a situation, where our business partners would not listen to the direction or support that I was providing. In fact, I would be in meetings, where I would make a suggestion. In return, I would be completely ignored as if I did not make a statement at all. I felt invisible. For a moment, I felt deflated and defeated. However, I began to focus on the power of God and Christ. I mediated on Christ's authority versus man. I began to feel more confident. I remember walking into the building thinking to myself that I am the divine child of God. I have favor in His eyes. Two weeks later, I had another meeting, where we needed to provide a progress update. During the meeting, one of our business partners stated that they needed to put me in charge of a specific task. In addition, at the end of the meeting, my boss stated to everyone that moving forward I would be in charge of all the technical matters. I could not believe it. I went from being invisible, timid, and fearful to being in charge. I firmly believe that my transition from invisible to being in charge occurred from me meditating on Christ's authority.
PurposeThe scriptures identify evil spirits recognizing Jesus' authority. For instance, in Mark 5:7, the demons' declare Jesus as Son of the Most High God. The title of the Son of the Most High describes Jesus' divine origin and nature. It identifies Christ as the Son of God who embodies the qualities of his Father. In Matthew 4:3, as Satan tempts Jesus, he first questions if Jesus is the Son of God. He knowingly taunts Jesus, while reflecting his very nature as the Son of God. In addition, in Acts 16:17, an evil spirit refers to servants of the Most High God before being cast out. In all three accounts, Jesus is referred to as the Son of Most High God. He is the Son of God who embodies His Father's characteristics. This embodiment represents Christ's divinity and authority.
Not only do the evil spirits recognize Christ's authority, but in Mark 5:1 – 20, the exorcism of the demons reveals their subjection to Jesus' authority. Demons are angels and instruments of Satan. They remain in complete subjection to Satan as they fight against the kingdom of God. However, Jesus supersedes this subjection as the demons become under his authority during the exorcism. Mark describes the demons' five actions that represent their subjection to Jesus: (1) they bow down before him, (2) they acknowledge him as the Son of the Most High God, (3) they request not to be tormented, (4) they request to remain in the country, and (5) they request to be sent into the swine. The demons last appeal to enter the swine underlines their total submission to Jesus's authority. Jesus accepts their appeal, by his word indicating the power of God. He breaks the power of the Satan's angels as he possesses the dominion of God. Therefore, Jesus' authority defined by the dominion of God forces the demons to submit, which expels them from the man.