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The Healing of Two Demon-Possessed Men February 10, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 8:28-34.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus encounters two demon-controlled men near Gergesa. These demons acknowledge His:

  • identity as the Son of God
  • ability to free their human hosts from their control.

Jesus then allows them to enter a nearby herd of pigs – causing the pigs to commit suicide. The villagers respond by entreating Jesus to depart from that area.

Thoughts: Here, we see that the residents of Gergesa beseech Jesus to leave them after He demonstrates His authority over demons. Ryle offers some thoughts on this point:

Fourth, let us not leave this passage without observing the worldliness of the Gadarenes, among whom this miracle of driving out demons was performed…They did not care that two fellow-creatures, two immortal souls, had been freed from Satan’s bondage…they cared for nothing but the fact that their pigs were drowned and “their hope of making money was gone” (Acts 16:19). They ignorantly regarded Jesus as one who stood between them and their profit, and they only wished to be rid of him.

While Ryle’s explanation of the Gergesenes’ actions may be correct, I would posit the following alternate hypothesis. Note that the Gergesenes had just observed a miracle where Jesus had demonstrated His sovereignty over demons – resulting in the dramatic suicide of a herd of pigs. Wouldn’t they have been filled with fear at this point? Perhaps they wrestled with questions such as:

  • Could Jesus order the demons to enter them?
  • Could Jesus perform another miracle that would harm them?

I am skeptical of Ryle’s explanation, as I doubt that the Gergesenes were merely upset about the loss of potential income through the death of their pigs. If I had been in their position, I would have cowered in terror. I certainly hope to query Ryle in this point in the next life.

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