Demon power overcome at Gadara

Another place that Jesus visited was the district to the east and south of the Lake of Galilee known as Gadara. The people were mainly Gentiles and were known as Gadarenes (sometimes as Gerasenes, after the chief town of the district, or even Gergesenes, after another local town) (Matt 8:28; Mark 5:1). Jesus was met there by a man whose body had been cruelly taken over by demons. To release the man from his torment, Jesus commanded the demons to come out of him. The demons knew that Jesus was the Son of God and that one day he would judge them, but they were angry that he came to interfere with them before the appointed time (Matt 8:29; Mark 5:2-8).

Jesus commanded the man to tell him his name, so that the man might see how great a power of evil had possessed him. The demons saw that judgment was upon them, and begged Jesus not to send them immediately to the place where evil spirits are punished (Mark 5:9-10; Luke 8:30-31).

The demons preferred to remain in the bodies of living things than go to the place of punishment. Therefore, if they were not allowed to remain in the man’s body, they would rather enter the bodies of animals, even pigs. Jesus gave them their request, but they met their judgment nevertheless, for the pigs went mad and drowned in the sea. By sending the demons into the pigs, Jesus gave dramatic visible proof of his power over demons, and at the same time he showed to all what a vast number of demons had possessed the man (Mark 5:11-13).

To Jesus the life of one person was more important than the lives of two thousand pigs. The local villagers were more concerned about their farms and, fearful of what might happen if Jesus remained in the district any longer, begged him to leave (Mark 5:14-17). Jesus left, leaving the man to spread the good news of the Saviour throughout the area. Since these people were Gentiles, there was no need for the man to keep quiet about the miracle. Gentiles were not likely to use Jesus’ messiahship for political purposes (Mark 5:18-20; cf. Matt 8:4, 9:30, 12:16; John 6:14-15).

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