Jesus Casts Demons Into A Herd Of 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

Jesus and His disciples went to the eastern shore of Galilee, a place called Gerasenes, Mark 5:1 / Luke 8:26, this must have been a Gentile area as there were many pigs around and we know that the Jews saw pigs as unclean animals. And it’s here Jesus meets two me who are demon-possessed.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Mark and Luke mention only one of these people, Mark 5:2 / Luke 8:27, the principal one. Note that neither Mark nor Luke states that there was ‘only one’ of these men. The fact of demon possession is plain here. These were possessed not merely with one, but with many, demons.’

Gill, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Mark and Luke mention only one demoniac, probably the fiercer of the two.’

There are many views today concerning demonic possession, some argue that it still exists whilst others don’t. It’s generally supposed that no such thing as demon possession exists on earth today and if that supposition is correct, it would simply mean that the power of Jesus Christ in destroying the works of the devil, which was His purpose in coming into this world, 1 John 3:8, was effective and that Satan’s demonic followers are not able to work the havoc upon the human personality in this age, as formerly.

The multiplication of such disorders in the times of Christ should, in such a view, have been expected as the demons recognised the holy Saviour and His purpose of destroying them.

Mark stressed the unnatural strength of this caveman, using two entire verses to stress it, Mark 5:3-4, but Matthew supplied the significant fact that his wildness had closed the area to human traffic, and Luke the equally significant fact that he was naked. Such a person had no doubt cast a terror over the entire village, Zechariah 13:1-2.

The demon-possessed men seem always to have been able to recognise Christ as the Son of God and so, they ask, ‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ Notice the word, ‘us’ which implies there is more than one demon addressing Jesus.

Notice also that these demons appear to know their destiny, ‘have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’ Matthew 25:41 / Acts 16:16-17 / James 2:19 / 2 Peter 2:4 / Jude 6.

They knew that Jesus had absolute power over them and they are well aware that their destiny is destruction, Matthew 25:41 / Luke 8:32.

The request of the demon seems here to have been predicated upon God’s prior promise that the demonic world would be vanquished at some time certain in the future, hence, his invoking God’s name in the request.

A glimpse of God’s ultimate plan of destroying evil surfaces here in the demonic knowledge that such destruction is in store for them and that an appointed time for it has already been determined, Acts 17:31 / Zechariah 13:1-2.

Around two thousand pigs were feeding on the side of the mountain according to Mark 5:11-13, and so, after requesting to embody the pigs, Jesus send them into the herd of pigs. They then rushed into the sea and drowned, Job 1:12-22.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This shows that the emissaries of Satan are restricted and may not enter even a herd of swine without the Lord’s permission. Other restrictions of Satan are given in 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Matthew 13:25.’

But as two men’s lives are transformed, the crowd seem to be scared, why were they scared? Possibly because they did not want Jesus’ kind of power in their midst. Possibly because they thought Jesus was going to wipe out every pig in the region which would mean a loss of property and revenue.

At first, it may seem incredible that the people of the town did not want Jesus to stay. But think about what they had just lost two thousand pigs. Some people owned them, some folks were planning to make money slaughtering, processing, and selling them.

He had hurt the town’s economy. They evidently loved material possessions more than they loved Jesus, and because of that, they missed out on the supreme privilege. They asked Him to leave.

Do we ever invite the Lord to leave our lives because we love material things more than we love Him? Luke 8:36-37.

Whatever the reason, it is clear they were so blinded by their physical loss, that they ask Jesus to leave the area. Jesus listened to them and left and would never set foot in the area again, how sad to see Jesus being rejected once again, despite doing a wonderful thing, not only for the men who were possessed but for those who lived in the area.

Luke and Mark record, that one of the men who was possessed was commanded by Jesus to tell others what God had done for him, which he proceeded to do, Luke 8:39 / Mark 5:20.