Jesus and His disciples reached the other side of the Sea of Galilee and make landfall at Gadarenes. I’m not sure why they set sail for this port when leaving Capernaum. Did they intend this to be their original destination or were they moved off course by the storm. Jesus could have righted this course if this were the case. What I really believe was that He was on a divine appointment.
The two men that met Jesus and His disciples were as wild and crazed as could be. If they lived in the time of the state mental hospitals they would have been locked up and the key would have been melted down for scrap iron! They were SCARY! Everyone in town knew about these men and were terrified to come near them. Jesus wasn’t.
Jesus knew the cause of their distress. It was Satan, BIG time. They were over run with demons. The demons recognized Jesus and His power straight away. They didn’t need to sit down and listen to Him teach or wait to view a few healing miracle to be sure Who He was. The demons were terrified of Jesus and knew that He could cast them out of the men with ease. I don’t know why they suggested the pigs. I guess they figured Jesus would have said no if they asked to be allowed to inhabit the herdsmen nearby. I don’t know why they were afraid of not inhabiting a living being.
These two men had been tormented by this pack of demons. We can tell this by the immediate reaction of the pigs when they came into them. We can also tell it was a LOT of demons because the bible tells us the “whole herd” went headlong into the sea. I would assume that there were enough demons leaving these two men to be at least one per pig in this herd. What happened to the demons after the pigs died? Why did the pigs rush into the sea? Were the demons in charge of the pig’s behaviors or was Jesus somehow tricking and trapping that group of demons? If the demons were in charge, why did they kill the hosts they had just requested?
So, after the pigs were drown, the herdsmen went into town and told everyone what had happened. Matthew clearly points out that they “especially” told the towns people what had happened to the two men. This should have been a cause for celebration! First of all, their family could finally have some peace. Their son/brother/husband/whatever was FINALLY sane and could come home. Second, people wouldn’t have to be afraid when walking that way anymore. Third, they should have been rounding up every sick person in their boarders to bring to Jesus, because if He could heal these men He could do anything!
But no celebration happened that day. Instead the whole town came together to beg Jesus to leave. Why? Were they afraid more of their pigs would die? Were they angry about the ones that did die? Were they completely comfortable with things as they had been and resented any change? Were they upset that an outsider came into their city and thought He knew what was best for them?
Jesus didn’t put up a fuss. He and his disciples would soon get back into their boat and head back across the sea. Would He go so easily because He had accomplished all He came across the Sea to do? Did these men have praying family members who had been interceding for them; who’s prayers brought Jesus to their shores to do this one miracle? What happened to the two men after Jesus left? Did they go with Jesus? Did they stay where they had been living? Or did they go into town with the rest of the people? Did they start sharing their story with anyone who would listen? I pray they didn’t wind up worse off than before. In Luke 11:24-26 Jesus warns of demons returning and finding “their home” empty and bringing seven more spirits with them, worse than the originals. With these men that would be unthinkable!
Father God, I am in awe of the love that was shown to these two men. Jesus made the trip across the Sea of Galilee just to heal them. Satan put up quite a fight to keep Him away! I’m betting the storm was one of the roadblocks Satan threw up. NOTHING could stop Jesus’ divine appointment with these two tormented souls. You don’t tell us what became of the men after Jesus left, but I can’t imagine You abandoning them after all Jesus went through to reach out to them. Jesus literally moved Heaven and Earth (wind and sea) to reach out to them. I believe Jesus would have gladly stayed and helped many more in that region if the town’s people would have allowed it. But You never force anyone to accept You or Your help. You freely offer Yourself to everyone, but we have to reach out and take hold of that offer. I run into this same issue when I try to be “self-sufficient.” When I think I have everything under control, and tell You to hang back while I tend to whatever I’m dealing with, I’m behaving just like the people in that town did. Forgive me Father for ever thinking I could manage my problems on my own. Remind me Who holds all the instruction manuals for this life I’m living. Thanks for bringing Your tool box too. Mine looks mighty bare next to Yours.