When he had come out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.
In this passage from the Bible we have the terrifying illustration of a person under the power of the devil. This man had “his dwelling among the tombs” (v. 3). Where death reigned he made his isolated home. That is where the unclean spirit had drawn him. It is this same influence that draws people today to places of sinful pleasure, where they still sense their isolation and are surrounded morally by death.
Binding that dangerous, violent man with chains proved pointless. He had the strength to break any fetters. In verse 4 we read the sad result: “Neither could anyone tame him.” In principle that also applies to man’s nature that has been ruined by sin and is subject to the devil’s power. With most people this is not seen as drastically as with that man. Yet when we regard ourselves in God’s light, we must admit that our sinful nature cannot be controlled. Neither national laws, God’s commandments nor our own will can “tame” or improve it. What we need is a new heart, a clean heart.
Verse 5 tells us that the man cried out among the graves day and night and cut himself with stones. Although bitterly unhappy, he himself made things worse: he couldn’t do otherwise; so things went downhill more and more.
Then Jesus met him and drove out the unclean spirit. That brought about a radical change. He sat with Jesus “in his right mind” (v. 15), and told others joyfully what the Lord had done for him.
Jesus can indeed renew a life completely!