28When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area.
29They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?”
30There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance.31So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”
32“All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
33The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men.34Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.
At first this story seem so strange to us, but really, it is all about us. It is very unlikely that any of us have been possessed by demons. But I know in my life Satan has sometimes gotten me so upset and so off-track that no one could really live a good life with me. Then Jesus comes to these men and the demons know their time is over. Notice, that the story says nothing about Jesus saying anything to the demons. But they know they cannot be in the presence of Jesus. Just as in our own lives, if we are with Jesus, Satan and sin have to go.
The demons want to go into the pigs. At that time pigs were “unclean” animals for the Jews and they never were supposed to be raised or eaten by Jews. The demons simply wanted to go into the filth that defines sin and Satan, and Jesus obliges them. They even then destroy what they begged to enter, just as sin destroys everything, even the things it wants.
Lastly, the towns people beg Jesus to leave. They witnessed the power of God and could see the good Jesus had done for the possessed men. But they had lost their belongings (the pigs). I know in my own life I have all too often chosen to hang on to my earthly possessions and send God away. It still happens to me way too often. God’s power to change lives is frightening sometimes and we often choose the sin we know over the freedom we don’t quite understand. And remember, sometimes when you are the one bringing the power of God to people, they will send you away!