Jesus casts out mental demons. We see an example of it in Mark 5:1-21 as Jesus restores the mind of a mentally deranged man. Of course, mental illness is not new. In fact, this story from 2,000 years ago has an eerily, familiar feel for today. Except, Jesus confronted it with the transforming, redeeming power of God.
Jesus casts out mental demons when you submit yourself to him
V.6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him…
The main character is a man tormented by demons in his mind. He is both mentally deranged and incredibly strong. A danger to others who inflicted harm on himself. He was too strong for anyone to restrain so he was ostracized by society and left to fend for himself. And his hangout of choice was the one place no one else wanted to go…the local cemetery.
But when Jesus arrives he has a moment of mental clarity driven by hope. He rushes to Jesus and falls at his feet in an act of submission. It is this mindset, this attitude of total surrender on God’s mercy that moves His compassion. When you’ve hit rock bottom, know you’re out of options and throw yourself completely in His hands. This is when God picks you up and covers you with grace.
Jesus frees you when you recognize his authority and power
V. What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
Demons are real spiritual beings and the direct cause of the man’s mental torment. And the demons immediately recognize Jesus for who he is, along with his authority and power. They must leave on his command. The only question is whether or not they could create any other havoc along the way.
I’m not suggesting that the mental illness we know today is all caused by demons. Or reject modern treatment methods that may call for medication and counseling.
But I am saying that the authority and power of God reigns supreme. And He is the absolute source of physical, mental, and spiritual wholeness.
The restoring presence of God’s Spirit and the renewing capacity of His word are powerful remedies as relevant today as the time of Jesus. To learn more about this from a clinical, Christian perspective, I recommend checking out books by Dr. Caroline Leaf.
Jesus casts out mental demons when you follow him
V.19 The man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him…
Jesus heals the man by commanding the demons to leave and letting them inhabit a herd of pigs that run down a hill and drown in the sea. Leaving the man now in his right mind. He begs Jesus for permission to follow him as a disciple but Jesus charges him to be an evangelist instead.
Although his desire to follow Jesus underscores the importance of discipleship for maintaining mental and spiritual wellness. Because sin surrounds us with an overwhelming oppression. To trip us. Ensnare us. And lose our way in the darkness. But when you follow Jesus he leads you towards the light. Which is the presence of God’s eternal glory.