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.
Matthew 8 : 28 – 32
This is one of the scripture passages that people can look at and wonder what is happening. It would have been quite the scene to behold. Imagine seeing a herd of pigs rushing down the bank and into a lake. It was something which would have caused anyone there to wonder why this happened.
If there was one thing Jesus was very good at, it was knowing how to capture different people’s attention. Jesus had been speaking to the Pharisees, who weren’t the best listening and receiving what Jesus was saying. The Jewish people were also there, and they paid attention and received what Jesus was teaching. So, Jesus played with this in this passage. Pigs are unclean animals for Jewish people, so the end fate for these unclean animals didn’t bother them. The Pharisees, on the other hand, took issue with it.
While we can’t relate to the imagery in this passage, let’s put it in current day context. Instead of actual demons, those things might be those things in our lives which keep us from following Jesus, or do more harm than good. What are those things which are in your life which cause you harm? What are those things in your life which are not giving you life? What would it be like to cast those practices out of your life? This is something we are able to do as disciples of Jesus, get rid of those things which keep us from following Jesus.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, we give you thanks that you cast out the demons in our lives. We give you thanks that you teach us how to follow you, and you guide us in how to live our lives as your disciples. Help us to get rid of those things in our lives which keep us from following you, and encourage us even when we lose hope. Thank you that you love us still even when we fall short. Amen.
Action: Find one thing you do that is not helpful for you in being disciple, and get rid of it.