“When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.’ ” Mark 5:6-7
After a night on the sea, Jesus and his disciple set shore and are accosted by a man with an unclean spirit. The confrontation is brief. While Jesus does draw some information from the spirit, enough to learn that there are many spirits tormenting the man and to also receive their request not to be just cast out but to be sent into a herd of pigs, Jesus doesn’t debate with the demons.
It’s interesting that the demon doesn’t question Jesus’ interest in the possessed man. Rather, he says, “What have I to do with you?” The demon knows who Jesus is, the Son of the Most High God. He knows that Jesus is the creator of everything that has been created and made. He knows that Jesus is the redeemer that has come to set those that are held captive in sin free. The demon doesn’t question Jesus presence or involvement. No, the demon’s protest is that he wants nothing to do with Jesus.
At this time the only ones who had recognized and acknowledged who he was were John the Baptist, God the Father, and some demons. Jesus was endeavoring to keep his identity secret. No doubt he was trying to avoid the controversy that would erupt over making such a claim. People didn’t understand the work the Messiah would do and even his supporters would get in the way if they were too sure of who he was.
But the demons both knew who he was and loudly proclaimed his identity.
The demons implored that Jesus not torment them. Then they made their request to join the pigs and Jesus grants their petition. It’s amazing to me how even the most underserving receive some measure of mercy from Jesus. Even the demons.
The devil and others would have us think that God is unloving and merciless but they know better. God is always looking for an opportunity to offer whatever mercy he can. He will set the captives free, that goal will not be compromised. But the wicked, even the devils, will get all the mercy God’s love and justice can give.