Our passage today continues the story of Jesus and the demon-possessed man in Gerasenes. Jesus commands the legion of demons to come out of the man and make a heard of pigs their host instead. The pigs are so tormented by the demons, they jump off the cliff and drown in the waters below. This results in a tremendous economic loss for the community.
14-15 Those tending the pigs, scared to death, bolted and told their story in town and country. Everyone wanted to see what had happened. They came up to Jesus and saw the madman sitting there wearing decent clothes and making sense, no longer a walking madhouse of a man.
16-17 Those who had seen it told the others what had happened to the demon-possessed man and the pigs. At first they were in awe—and then they were upset, upset over the drowned pigs. They demanded that Jesus leave and not come back.
18-20 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the demon-delivered man begged to go along, but he wouldn’t let him. Jesus said, “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.” The man went back and began to preach in the Ten Towns area about what Jesus had done for him. He was the talk of the town.
Wait…What? That’s right, the people care more about the pigs than they do the Son of God or this man who desperately needs to be delivered from evil. Where’s the mercy or compassion? If we are going to follow Jesus, we need to maintain the understanding that he cares more about the spiritual needs of people than anything else. Spiritual health come first, because when our spirits are right with God, and we abide in his love, everything else is provided. Jesus said it this way, “So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly (Matt. 6:33).
The people of Gerasenes have no faith in God’s ability to lovingly provide for them even though they witness an amazing transformation and miracle. The Kingdom of God comes near, but only one person enters—the demon-delivered man. Until we are willing to completely entrust ourselves to God’s care, we will fight the work of the Spirit who comes to bring us all the riches of the divine Kingdom.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for pouring mercy and compassion into the lives of your followers. May we consistently seek your Kingdom above all other things knowing you hold the whole picture and will provide accordingly. In Jesus’ name. Amen.