A wild man in chains once accosted Jesus as he entered the region of Gadera.
For years, the people in that area had tried to control his destructive behavior by chaining him up, but he kept breaking the chains. By the time Jesus arrived, the lunatic was running naked through the countryside shouting obscenities and threatening the citizenry.
Jesus assessed and addressed the situation. External props were not the answer. This guy needed more than a class on hygiene, a fresh set of clothes, and a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People. This guy had a demon in him that had to come out.
Jesus commanded the demon to surface and surrender its name. “Legion,” answered the beings inside of him, “because we are many.”
Wow. Here’s a fellow with an entire army of evil spirits inside him.
They begged Jesus to put them into a herd of swine grazing on a nearby hillside.
Whoa, whoa. Hold on a minute. This is Israel. What are swine doing on that nearby hillside? Here are a bunch of good Kosher Jewish citizens raising pork chops and ham hocks! They were trafficking in pork bellies! Jewish law forbids that.
Jesus decided to kill two birds with one stone. He would rid the maniac of the demon and rid the town of their contraband bacon.
As soon as the demons hit the pigs, they rushed headlong into the lake. Splash!
So… whatever became of the demons? As far as I know, demons don’t breath so I wouldn’t think that they would drown. Where’d they go?
Well, obviously, they went throughout the region of Gadera to find suitable homes. Why would Jesus allow that?
Matthew 8:34 describes the townspeople’s reaction to Jesus’ intervention:
And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they entreated Him to depart from their region.
They were more concerned about losing revenue, a herd of swine, than they were with discovering God. The good townsfolk of Gadera asked Him to please leave before he did any more damage to the local economy. Jesus knew they would do that, so he left them with the spirits they chose to serve.
This wasn’t the first time people chose wealth over Jesus, and it would not be the last. The basic drive of this world is materialism.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
Are there any priorities in your life that you don’t want God to touch? Why not ask him to reveal them to you and then give you the courage to turn it over to Him.