And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
(Matthew 8:28-34 ESV)
Today we read the end of the story we read yesterday in which Jesus cured two men of demon possession by casting the demons out of them into a herd of pigs. The demons subsequently caused the pigs to rush off a cliff and drown in the sea.
Some herdsman who witnessed these events fled into the city where they told everything. As a result, all the city came out to meet Jesus. Now, one would think that these people were coming to Jesus because they were in awe of what had happened to the demon-possessed man. However, that was not the case.
Instead, they begged [Jesus] to leave their region. How incredibly sad. These people had God in their midst and they told Him to go away. They rejected the very one who came, not to condemn or cause pain, but to save [John 3:17]. They could have experienced tremendous blessing but instead all they could think about was their fear and probably the loss of revenue they would experience because of the dead pigs.
Jesus had cured two men of demon possession. But these people didn’t care about that. They weren’t glad for these men. Instead, the were sad for themselves. Isn’t this still the way the world works? We are so interested in our earthly comfort that we don’t care about what happens to our fellow man.
We see this attitude of profits over people incessantly in our culture. Even those who claim to serve people, such as our government, act selfishly in order to get reelected or to create a legacy for themselves. Really all that matters to most people is themselves.
Of course, the saddest part of this story is that this entire city rejected Jesus. They had all they could ever want and they threw it away out of ignorance. The right reaction would have been to investigate – to talk with Jesus and learn from Him. Instead they made the rash decision to tell Him to go away.
Contrast this with the way the Berean Jews received information about Jesus. They didn’t dismiss it out of hand. They didn’t blindly believe it either. They took the time to look into it and that approach made all the difference. It saved their souls [Acts 17:10-12].
I read an interesting commentary on this passage in which the author suggests that perhaps the reason why the demons killed the pigs was because they knew the city would blame Jesus for this, which is exactly what happened. Satan has one goal: to turn people away from Jesus in this life so he will have dominion over them in the next.
Many people will spend eternity ruing the day they fell for Satan’s schemes.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.