New Testament Journey Day 35: Matthew 8:28-34. Jesus Sends Demons into a Herd of Pigs
“When 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. They 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?” There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.” “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. The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.” – Matthew 8:28-34
What are demon-possessed people? They are under the control of one or more demons. Demons are fallen angels who joined Satan in his rebellion against God and are now evil spirits under Satan’s control. They help Satan tempt people to sin and have great destructive powers. But whenever confronted by Jesus, they lose their power. These demons recognized Jesus as the God’s Son but they didn’t think they had to obey him. Just believing is not enough. Faith is more than belief. By faith, you accept what Jesus has done for you. Receive him as the only one who can save you from sin, and live out your faith by obeying his commands.
These men were unclean in three ways according to Jewish laws. They were Gentiles, they were demon possessed, and they lived in a graveyard. BUT JESUS HELPED THEM ANYWAY! We should not turn our backs on people who are “unclean” or repulsive to us or who violate our moral standards and religious beliefs. Instead, we must realize that every single human individual is a unique creation of God, needing to be touched by his love.
The bible tells us at the end of the world the devil and his angels will be thrown into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. When the demons asked if Jesus had come to torture them “Before God’s appointed time” they showed they know their ultimate fate.
When the demons entered the pigs, they drove out the animals into the sea. The demons’ action proves their destructive intent – they could no longer destroy the men – so they destroyed the pigs. Jesus action, by contrast, shows the value he places on each human life.
Why did the people ask Jesus to leave? Unlike their own pagan gods, Jesus could not be contained, controlled, or appeased. They feared Jesus supernatural power, a power that they had never before witnessed. And they were quite frankly, upset about losing their herd of pigs more than they were glad about the deliverance of the demon-possessed men. Are you more concerned about property and programs than people? Human beings are created in Gods’ image and have eternal value. How foolish, and yet how easy, it is to value possessions, investments, and even animals above human life. How about you? Would you rather have Jesus leave you alone or finish his work in you?
**Today’s study taken from the Life Application Study Bible
Be blessed my friends and know that Jesus still can’t be contained or put in a box. He is still moving with mercy and love relentlessly pursuing the lost, the hurt and the broken. Let him help you drive out whatever sin is in your life and destroying you.