When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?"
Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. So the demons begged Him, saying, "If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine."
And He said to them, "Go." So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.
Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.
The country of the Gergesenes (also known elsewhere in scripture as Girgashites, or the Gadarenes) is the land of those who ‘dwell on a clayey soil’, and were one of the seven nations greater and mightier than you mentioned in DEUTERONOMY 7. (See ‘Cast Out Many Nations — Complacency’). In general, plants do not grow well in clay soil and require the addition of organic matter to help them thrive. However, clay will anchor a plant well; it will stick in the mud. This suggests that the Gergesenes, as a ‘type’, were stubborn by nature, stuck in their ways, unlikely to change.
In this land, two demon-possessed men came out of the tombs — a place of death — fierce and savage. What is interesting here is that they immediately recognised Jesus as Son of God. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! [JAMES 2:19] Also notice how this is phrased. Even the demons believe. We can have difficulty with belief, but these bad boys know the reality of Jesus Christ and cower from Him.
When these demons are cast out of the men into the herd of swine, the pigs run into the sea. ‘Sea’ here comes from a root word meaning salt, so we can see a commonality between these demon-possessed men and Lot’s wife who looked back behind (Lot), and she became a pillar of salt. [GENESIS 19:26 NKJV] They seek death instead of life. But who then perished in the water? Only the herd of swine; the demons were merely cast into the sea to inhabit the dead pigs. In other words, Jesus put them where they belong, in the midst of death.
Stubbornness can be found anywhere, and we like to get comfortable in our accustomed mud patch — just like pigs in a sense. We must be open to change, to seeing new life as better than the old and complacent. It is surely challenging, whatever age we may be. Our ‘new life’ in Christ will constantly bring such challenges right into the heart of who we are. Embracing Christ casts out death and complacency.
A HOLY COMMAND: Oswald Chambers on Love
GEORGE and GILL STEWART