Two Men with Demons
(Mark 5.1-20; Luke 8.26-39)
28After Jesus had crossed the lake, he came to shore near the town of Gadara and started down the road. Two men with demons in them came to him from the tombs. They were so fierce that no one could travel that way. 29Suddenly they shouted, “Jesus, Son of God, what do you want with us? Have you come to punish us before our time?”
30Not far from there a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31So the demons begged Jesus, “If you force us out, please send us into those pigs!” 32Jesus told them to go, and they went out of the men and into the pigs. All at once the pigs rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.
33The people taking care of the pigs ran to the town and told everything, especially what had happened to the two men. 34Everyone in town came out to meet Jesus. When they saw him, they begged him to leave their part of the country.
What the demons seem to know, the people in this story don’t. Or they choose to ignore. As Jesus and his disciples – recovered from their rough trip across the lake – continue their journey on the safety of dry land, they encounter what must have been a terrifying scene. Two men with demons who were so fierce no one could travel that way.
The demons immediately recognize who they are dealing with, the Son of God. The townspeople who came to meet Jesus – mostly Gentiles, scholars believe, who weren’t worried about the cleanliness of the pigs who just threw themselves off the cliffs – want no part of him. We would expect that they would fall to their knees and worship him, in the face of such a demonstration of holy power.
It seems crazy that they wouldn’t. Perhaps it’s because Jesus’ release of the demons into the herd of pigs led to the animal’s death and a significant economic loss to their owners?
Their stuff got in the way of their spirit.
Or maybe they are just afraid.
In our own lives and spiritual walk, we have probably also witnessed people who—no matter what proof or persuasive arguments we offer—still do not believe what the demons themselves saw to be true: Jesus is God’s Son. And not Someone we beg to leave us alone.
Or maybe we’ve pulled the welcome mat out from Jesus’ feet in our own lives.
Today, let’s beg Him to come into our lives more fully, more intimately, confident that Jesus is the Son of God, and the one powerful enough to resist any evil the world has to offer.
Father God, you are the all powerful, all loving God, in front of whom every knee will bow. And every tongue will say that Jesus Christ is Lord. We pray for the people in our lives that we know who beg you to leave. We beg you to come and enter into their lives in a way they cannot ignore. Use us in this work. Amen.