Christian Universe ™
How Well Do You Know Jesus?
September 6, 2009
The devils, or unclean spirits, knew Jesus by name, knew that He is the Son of God, knew that He had the power of God in Him, and knew that He had come to punish them. They believed so much that they worshipped Him, trembling in His presence. How well do you know Jesus?
How Well Do You Know Jesus?
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 09-06-2009
Mark 5:1: “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
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.
5: And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
6: But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
7: And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
8: For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
9: And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
10: And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
11: Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.
12: And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
13: And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
14: And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.
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.
16: And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.
17: And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.”
When we read the above account, our emphasis seems to generally be upon the triumph of the power of God residing in Jesus over the multitude of unclean spirits. Today, I wish to look at another important point found in this story, which is that the unclean spirits recognized Jesus.
Verse 7 tells us that they said, “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.”
Let’s examine Matthew’s account of this statement in his version of the story.
Matthew 8:29: “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”
Note that they knew His name, Jesus. They also knew that He was the Son of God. Beyond that, they also referred to the fact that He had come to torment them, and that there was a time appointed for Him to do this. That’s quite a bit of knowledge coming from some unclean spirits—or, as Matthew calls them, devils.
How is it that devils know so much about the Lord Jesus? Is it possible that they knew more than many of the worshippers of God knew at the time?
Luke 4:40: “Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
41: And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.”
James 2:19: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”
Many who heard Jesus preach and who saw the miracles that He performed still rejected Him. It was not enough to know who He was. What is more important is how deep does that knowledge run?
Devils knew that He was Jesus, the Son of God. They knew that He had the power of God to cast them from the bodies that they inhabited. They knew that He had come to punish them, and that such a time of judgment had been set. But they did not bother to learn enough about Him to trust Him and to serve God through Him. Instead, they made themselves the enemies of Christ.
How deep is our knowledge of Jesus Christ?
Matthew 7:21: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
We can preach and do many wonderful things in the name of Jesus. We can praise Him for good things that we have, and do. We can glorify Him for the salvation from sin that we have in Him. But, if we do not truly understand what He is about, and what is expected of us, our efforts are wasted. We are no better than the devils themselves!
Jesus set the example and taught the doctrines that we need to learn. We often hear an expression these days, “What would Jesus do?” as a way of making difficult decisions. If we don’t know Jesus well, how will we know what He would do in a given situation?
Matthew 11:28: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Knowledge is of vital importance.
Luke 11:52: “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.”
Matthew 23:23: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
The ancient Jewish leaders neglected the law of God, replacing it with their own doctrines. Do you realize how presumptuous it is to say that a man knows more than God, the creature knows more than the Creator?
Romans 10:1: “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2: For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3: For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
When we learn of Jesus, it is obvious to those around us.
Acts 4:8: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
9: If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
10: Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11: This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
13: Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
When we have knowledge of Jesus, people will notice, because we will observe faith, judgment, and mercy.
2 Thessalonians 1:3: “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
4: So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
5: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:”
Faith is trust. We trust God to do right by us in all things. This leads us to withstand all manner of trouble in our lives, as well as all kinds of persecution. Others will notice.
John 7:24: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
John 8:16: “And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.”
2 Corinthians 4:2: “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.”
Judgment is the discovery of facts, of the truth. As Christians, when we are evenhanded and fair—workers of equity, not inequity--we develop a reputation for honesty.
And finally, there is mercy. Luke refers to it as the love of God.
Luke 11:42: “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
Realizing that we are all sinners and in need of God’s forgiveness, and thereby, the salvation that is in the blood of Jesus Christ—we show the same love and mercy toward others that God has shown toward us.
Matthew 5:7: “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
Matthew 9:13: “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
It is easy to condemn, but that is not godly. Rather, our goal is to repent of our own sins, and encourage others to repent of theirs.
Acts:2:38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”