When Jesus began his ministry, he journeyed through different parts of the land and there was an encounter at one of the places he went which was briefly mentioned. It happened soon after he went on a boat to cross over to the other side and the journey across the sea became an often quoted bible story about how he calmed the stormy sea when his disciples cried out and woke him up to help them. Then the boat reached the other side, as described in Matthew 8:28:
“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.”
I don’t think anybody wants to visit this place for fear of facing these men who were “so fierce that no one could pass that way”. The fact that they were living in tombs was enough for me to avoid the place. Most cities or countries would want to have their land known for its beauty, food or products. Nice stuff. But to be well known for having demon-possessed men blocking a road to their land would not be something you would want anyone to know.
Anyway, these two men upon seeing Jesus cried out and said, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29). Clearly, they acknowledged Jesus and later on pleaded to be sent to a herd of pigs as they know that Jesus would cast them out from man whom he had come to save. So off they went in to a herd of pigs which perished in the sea as they all ran down into it and drowned (read Matthew 8:30-32).
I thought that the people in that land would be jumping for joy that these two men are now normal and no longer will cause fear or attack people on that road. They were set free from this horrible situation. Well, it was quite the contrary. The herdsmen of the pigs went to the city and reported the situation to the people as it was written:
“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…”
One would expect a joyous greeting here but:
“and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.” (Matthew 8:33-34)
Even the herdsmen reported especially about what happened to the demon-possessed men but somehow, that did not gel with the rest of the people in that land. Perhaps it was because they had lost a good number of pigs that affected their livelihood. Wait a minute…
- What about the removal of the demons that were scaring and attacking everyone along that path?
- What about the deliverance of the two men who could be a father, brother or son of families affected by their situation?
- What about Jesus who had saved these two men with the prospect of healing many more in that city?
Ok, we do not know any more than what was written. They BEGGED Jesus to LEAVE.
Lord, I pray for wisdom and hear my plea that I would not choose the `herd of pigs’ in my life in exchange for what would have been of eternal value.