Spectator Christians love to interject questions about Scriptures that fail to meet their human understanding. Sadly, these week-end Believers look at the Bible as if they are reading Cliff Notes. They look at the Scriptures as summations and highlights of the activities of Jesus. Basically, I call this Biblical Dieting, which is consuming just enough spiritual nourishment to sustain their faith. There is little benefit to Scriptural surfing. It is when we submerge ourselves in the Word that we discover the intended Truths.
One of the questions that people ask is, “Why did Jesus agree to allow demons to enter the swine after being expelled from the demonic man? (Luke 8:26-39) For Jesus to grant that request would cause collateral consequences. To wipe out the swine would cause financial chaos to the surrounding area. Jesus, realizing the ramifications of this decision, still granted Legion’s request. Why?
Some of the things that Jesus did will bring the reader to the point of repentance for not doing more for the Kingdom of God. The first thing we see in this story is Jesus’ compassion and resolve. One day, Jesus and His Disciples had set sail from the seaport of Bethsaida to the Gadarenes. That evening, they encountered a storm that put their boat in jeopardy. Through Jesus’ action, the storm turned into a wave-less sea. When they arrived at their destination, Jesus encountered a man so possessed with demonic beings that he was forced to live among the tombs. Jesus made the trip to reach a man whose life had become lost to demonic control. (Matthew states there were two men. Matthew 8:28) Jesus was there to set him free! To what lengths Jesus will go to set people free from their bondage! It does not matter what chains are holding you, Jesus will break those bonds and set you free! The second thing that stands out in this story is the authority and power that He had over Satan and his soldiers. The demons could do nothing without Jesus’ permission. Legion knew his time was short and asked that they not be sent into the “deep.” The word deep means “abyss, bottomless pit.” This is the place where Satan and his army will be bound for 1,000 years. (Revelation 20:1-3) By releasing the demons into the swine, Jesus put fear into the demons, knowing that they could be sentenced to the pit at any time. The third thing this story shows is that there are consequences for one’s actions. It is believed that even though the Decapolis territory, of which the Gadarenes were a part, was basically of Roman and Greek identity, Semitic (Jewish) believers were also implanted in that area. Some of these Jews even followed Jesus. (Matthew 4:25) If, in fact, Jewish people were involved in raising swine, they were in violation of Jewish law. (Leviticus 11) The destruction of the swine could have been indirect judgment.
After the demoniac man was set free, Jesus told him to go home and tell others what the Lord had done for him and how He had had compassion on him. He went back and began to publish throughout the Decapolis what great thing Jesus had done for him. (Mark 5:19, 20) What a great Lord we serve. No one is out of His reach. Let us get in the boat in search of those who need deliverance. No matter the difficulties we experience on our trek, always remember Jesus is with us! Like the freedman of the Gadarenes who shared his wonderful story, every Christian needs to share their story of victory!
(References: Matthew 8, Mark 5, Luke 8)