I would encourage you to read the first ten verses where we see Jesus encountering a demon-possessed man and He ordered the “unclean spirit” to come out of the man. Our passage reads, “Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged Him, saying, ‘Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.’ And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the heart ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind, And they were afraid. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region” (NKJV).

There are many lessons to be learned from this solemn account, but perhaps the biggest lesson is that man’s heart, because of sin, is incurably wicked. Jeremiah 17:9 declares, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” We will confine our remarks to two points to illustrate this truth.

  1. The people’s reaction to this wonderful miracle of deliverance was: “They were afraid” (verse 15). Instead of “rejoicing” in the amazing transformation that had taken place (for he was now “sitting and clothed and in his right mind”) they were “terrified” at the display of Jesus’ power over demons. Earlier in this account we read, in verses 2 and 4, that “no one could bind him, not even with chains…neither could anyone tame him.” They knew of this man’s plight and tried to help him, but we don’t read that “they were afraid.” Yet when they saw him delivered from Satan’s grasp and enjoying a sound mind, “they were afraid.” We see this same thing today. People are in bondage to Satan and sin and people try to help them through their own futile efforts, yet when these people are delivered by the saving power of Jesus Christ they are terrified by the new life they see instead of rejoicing in their deliverance and giving Christ the glory for saving them.
  1. The people’s reaction to the destruction of the swine was: “They began to plead with Him to depart from their region” (verse 17). It is obvious that they placed more value on “two thousand pigs” than they did on “the soul of a man,” and thus they asked Him to leave so they wouldn’t experience other “financial losses.” Again, we may apply this to today, for when souls begin to “count the cost” of having Jesus Christ in their life, they often choose the fleeting riches of the world over the salvation that Christ offers them. One has said, “Countless multitudes still wish Christ far from them for fear His fellowship may occasion some social or financial or personal loss. Seeking to save their possessions, they lose their souls.” This quote was based on the passage we’ve been considering, and on Mark 8:36 which says, “For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (214.7)  (DO)