Matthew 8:28-34 – “When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 29 And they cried out, saying, ” What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. 31 The demons began to entreat Him, saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32 And He said to them, “Go!” And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters. 33 The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.” NASU
It is an interesting journey to consider how many times, in the Word of God, people encountered Jesus only to turn Him away and lose their “Chance of a Lifetime.” I can only imagine how the heart of God was grieved each time. That grief was compounded as city after city and group after group rejected the offer of the Lord Jesus to experience God’s Abundant Life.
The very presence of Jesus spoke of the Abundant Love the Father had and has for the world. John 3:16 is pounding in my ears as I consider this reality. That truth was demonstrated and evidenced in the very person and presence of Jesus. God is Love and Love was walking in their midst and yet they turned Love away, time and time again.
In this incident, we find Jesus had just ministered to several different and difficult cases bring the miraculous into the midst of those observing. He had healed the Lepers, the Centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, and had quieted the storm on the sea. His followers were observing and amazed at the great power of God in the person of Jesus. Now, He and they have come to the country of the Gadarenes and is met by two demon-possessed men. Mark only identifies one, but Matthew tells us there were two. These men had been bringing terror into the hearts and lives of those around them. They were violent and dangerous.
The demons recognized Jesus as the Son of God and knew they were powerless in His presence because of His faith, not simply His divinity. They requested, and Jesus granted that they enter the herd of hogs in the area and cast them out. The keepers of the hogs went to the city and reported what had transpired. They told of the exhibition of supernatural power and divine authority they had witnessed. I’m sure they were saying, “Something miraculous has transpired come and see.” Talk about advertising, eye witness testimony!
THE WHOLE CITY WENT OUT TO MEET JESUS.
According to the biblical account, there were about 2,000 hogs lost in this occurrence but two souls (human beings) had been liberated from the power of darkness. One would think that even with the financial loss they would be ecstatic about the two men but as the story progresses we find that mammon was more important the people. Is today really, that much different?
Imagine this scene. The Messiah had come to their country. Talk about the opportunity of a lifetime. Unfortunately, they did not come to see a savior they came to see a sign. They came out of curiosity. They came because of carnal greed and concern for their livelihood. Their focus was not salvation. They came out of curiosity, question, and concern for their way of life.
I have noticed in my years of Christian service that if something supernatural transpires people will drive hundreds of miles to see what has happened. It does not have to be a miracle, it may be an act of incredible evil through the demonic, but the interest and curiosity are peaked, and people come in droves. People are naturally “sign seekers” and “supernatural hunters.”
What an opportunity this city had. The entire city was on the scene and Jesus was in their midst. This is an opportunity to hear the Messiah speak and work miracles in their midst. This is their Day, their Opportunity. The question is what will they do with Jesus?
I apologize for putting you on hold, but I will pause here and pick this up in the next devotional and deal with the squandering of the greatest opportunity of their lifetime. I will ask, “What were they thinking?”
Until the next time, I pray that God will go with you and bless you richly! Have a fantastic day!