Jesus, Demons and…Pigs?

When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

Matthew 8:28-34

When Jesus and the disciples finally reach the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, they have an interesting encounter with two men possessed by demons. It seems that they were so violent that people kept clear of them. When the demons saw Jesus, they knew exactly who He was, calling out to Him and naming Him as “Son of God.” It seems that they knew enough about Jesus to know that not only was He the Son of God, but that He was also their Judge, and asked if He was there to “torture” them before the “appointed time” of His final judgment. Still talking, they asked Him to send them into a nearby herd of pigs, and Jesus was only too quick to grant their wish. When the demons entered the herd of pigs, the pigs stampeded into the lake and were drowned.

Did you notice that these powerful demons were helpless before Jesus? Entirely at his mercy, they asked to be sent into a herd of pigs… of all things, and Jesus made it so with one little word: Go! Rather than tremble and cower in the presence of Jesus, they destroyed themselves, using the pigs to dash into the lake, the very lake that Jesus had so recently calmed, now the watery grave for the unclean spirits and their unclean host bodies of the pigs.

When you think about that picture, the optics are truly amazing to behold.

The men who were the keepers of the pigs ran to town and told everyone what had happened, and the entire town came running out to Jesus… to beg Him to leave the region!

Were they upset with the loss of their food source, or were they just afraid of His power?

I doubt they had many Jewish visitors, since the area would have been unsuitable because of the pigs, but one thing is for certain; the demons knew exactly who they were dealing with, and they were sore afraid, while the villagers actually had the audacity to ask Him to leave, so blind are we humans in the presence of spiritual authority.

Whatever they were thinking, Jesus quickly moved on His way…

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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7 Responses to Jesus, Demons and…Pigs?

  1. Jnana Hodson says:

    There’s probably much more to the pig angle, too — a kind of bad joke, like saying pigs don’t belong in that part of the world. And does anyone else wonder about the poor farmer who owned them, losing his precious livelihood? Does anybody take up a collection to relieve him and his family?
    I do like your connection to the lake that had just been calmed and your image of (bloated) pigs now floating in it. Makes me shiver.

  2. AWETHENTIQ says:

    I see no loss in losing a herd of pigs in Israel. Market value must have been almost zero. “This pig is not for eatink,it is for sellink.” To whom, you may ask. Maybe the Roman opressors?

  3. paulfg says:

    Just for fun I went googling on the passage above. And found one which looked interesting – and then waded through 3,500 words of (pretty tedious) academia by “Associates for Biblical Research”. It concluded with this insightful paragraph:

    “Well might we learn this lesson: The Kingdom of God is for all, even those who are not like ourselves. As the Sunday School song goes, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.””

    I think that is brilliant!


  4. Pingback: Matthew 8:28-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Demon-possessed of the Gadarenes | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

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