11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. Mark 5:11-17

It seems that the madman first spoke for the demons, and then they spoke for themselves. Their very plea not to be sent away is proof of Jesus’ absolute authority over them. It also shows how foolish they were. They requested to be relocated into the pigs, not realising that their presence would drive the pigs crazy just as they had driven the man crazy. According to Jesus, evil spirits roam around looking for a host body, in this case pigs but, once again, the demons were homeless because their new hosts were dead!

In the meantime, the delivered man became a momentary celebrity. The news of his deliverance spread around the region faster than a bush fire. Everyone wanted to see him and hear his story – over and over again. There he was, as sane as any of them, just as they had heard about him. And there was Jesus, the man responsible for this dramatic change! Did He say anything, preach, teach, or explain? Probably not! The man himself was enough of a witness without any explanations.

But there was something else as well. A herd of dead pigs floating in the lake awoke them to the economic disaster this man’s healing had caused. Their anger and panic over lost income overrode their awe at this amazing event. Instead of rejoicing with the man and his family over his restoration, they drove Jesus out of the region just in case He did any more damage to their already depleted resources.

I wonder what would have happened to their economy had they believed in Jesus and turned their lives over to Him. Since He promised never to diminish us (Psalm 23:1) losing their pigs would have ultimately been to their benefit.

But there was one hope left for this region – the newly-sane man. What impact would his freedom have on his people? How would his deliverance change a hostile mob?

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Luella Campbell

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