Mark 5:10-20 (ESV)

10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea. 14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

The account of the demon possessed man whom Jesus and his disciples met after crossing the Sea of Galilee continued. When the representative demon realized Jesus was going to command him and the other evil spirits to leave the man, he begged Jesus to allow them to go into a nearby herd of pigs. Jesus permitted it. Then the entire herd, two thousand pigs, rushed down to the sea and drowned themselves, one-by-one. The people who owned the pigs were not too thrilled with Jesus at this point. Though they could have rejoiced that the man was in his right mind (v. 15), and delivered from the evil spirits that inhabited him, instead they were angry about their monetary loss. The townspeople knew who this demon possessed man was. They also heard about what happened to him and to the pigs. They had to see with their own eyes. They met the man in his right mind, saw the drowned pigs and were stunned. Then they begged Jesus to leave that area. They were afraid of what Jesus might do next! The man who was possessed had the opposite response though. He actually asked to go with Jesus. Jesus told him to go back to his friends and family and tell them and others about the mercy God had shown him and all that happened.

It’s interesting to compare the different ways this miracle of Jesus was received. The townspeople saw what Jesus had done, and they were literally awestruck. Yet, they implored Jesus to leave their area. They wanted him away from them because he caused them to suffer great loss financially. The demon possessed man, however, approached Jesus and begged to go with him. This man was under the power of the evil one, yet Jesus freed him, and he becomes a model of the miracle of a converted life. Because Christians continue to struggle with sin, it’s easy to dismiss the supernatural change that takes place when one is born again, or transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Just like the demoniac, saved people are changed from the inside out, and long to follow Christ. If you are a Christian, thank the Lord for interrupting your life and for the miracle he has worked in you, causing you to become a new creation in Christ Jesus. The old is gone; the new has come! Praise the Lord!