Healing demon-possessed men and resultant opposition:
Matthew (Two Demon-Possessed Men, Gadarenes region): Matthew 8:28-34
Mark & Luke (A Demon-Possessed Man, Gerasa region): Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-39
Thoughts about serving others
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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.
One Reply to “Demon-Possessed Men Healed”
The entire subject of demon-possession is troubling. Perhaps there’s just been too many movies or books that have attempted to deal with the subject by preying on our desire for sensationalism. Or perhaps the senseless shootings that continue to happen in our world makes me think demons possessing people is all too real. These are the thoughts that rattle my brain as I read through the text.
There’s some disagreement on the details surrounding this event (how many men and where), but the rest gives us details that really must have caused quite a stir.
When Jesus arrived, the man (or men, though I’ll just refer to man from here on) came and met Jesus. This is interesting to consider, like some sort of divine appointment. The confronted Jesus immediately. Mark’s account says he ran and fell on his knees in front of Jesus. All accounts agree with the man’s reaction, “what do you want with us?” This man was certainly known by those in the area. He would have been the one people talked about, the crazy guy who lives in the tombs. Certainly the Jewish leaders would have kept him as far away as possible, but Jesus approaches this storm just like the one on the sea that got him here–he is completely calm.
Jesus commands the impure spirit to come out of the man. There is no doubt that this command will be obeyed. The demons are only concerned with the manner of their discharge and beg for some sort of mercy. It seems that Jesus isn’t concerned with their position, he only wants to restore the life of the man possessed by their evil. So the demons are expelled and they somehow torment a huge herd of pigs that are nearby. It seems that someone’s pig business gets bankrupted by the reaction, or at least it seems like that to me, for some 2,000 pigs are drowned in a lake as a result.
The people’s reaction has little to do with the exorcism and restoration of the man, they’re focused on the loss of income as a result of Jesus’ arrival. They see them man dressed in normal clothing, acting like any other, but they don’t seem to care about him at all. For some time, they’ve had to contend with the crazy man from the tombs, now they’ve lost a herd of pigs. Perhaps they thought this was a temporary fix, that the man was still out of his mind and they’ve lost their livestock. In any case, they have no use for Jesus coming in an causing such a stir.
The man is restored and wants to go with Jesus–of course he does!! But Jesus has a different plan and here is what I think is the important lesson to take away from this story:
Sometimes the mission field is our own home, our own people. We need to tell people how much the Lord has done for us, to articulate his blessings on us. The Apostle Paul attempts to help us remember that we are no better than the man in this story:
Lord, help us to remember we all have fallen short or your standard and are all in great need of a savior.