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Miracles of Jesus - Casting Out Demons Into Pigs

Updated on April 15, 2011
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

by Nadavspi on wikimedia commons
by Nadavspi on wikimedia commons

One miracle of Jesus’ that shows the struggle between God and Satan is the miracle of driving the demons out of two men and having them enter a herd of pigs. This is one of those narratives that fascinates people and invites intense discussion on the power of the darkness and how it can be handled.

The narrative can be found in three of the four Gospels. Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, and Luke 8:26-39 relate how Jesus travelled into an area called Gadarenes where Gentiles (non-Jews) lived. Just stopping right there we can begin to see how Jesus and the disciples could have some issues in this land. To the Jews these were “unclean” people because they were not Jewish and did not practice the Mosaic Law in their daily lives. It was forbidden for Jews to socialize with “such” people. Things are already setting themselves up against the newcomers and there has been no interaction yet.

A Strange Encounter

Apparently, the men landed somewhere near a graveyard.  This is another thing that Jesus does that goes against Jewish tradition.  Moving among the dead was another “unclean” act that He commenced to do.  Two men rush out at him in apparent demon possession.  Now, many will point out that only Matthew mentions two men while Mark and Luke only mention one.  Here is where an understanding of the writing of the time period is very important.  Every era has a unique writing style.  In this era and culture, sometimes portions of a story are not left out but rather not mentioned because they are not important.  Mark and Luke both mention a man who after the miracle occurs begs to go with Jesus.  Obviously the other man did not speak, therefore he was not relevant to the narrative.  Relevance is vital.  In our current day we like detail.  Our novels have more adjectives than the dictionary has words.  In Biblical times the details were not important.  The message was.  Who cared if it was two men or one?  The demons were driven out and one man came forward asking to go with Jesus.  That was all that was needed.

These men rush out charging Jesus and the disciples and stop short.  The whole countryside knew of them because the path was usually avoided.  The men accosted people and were so crazed that people would walk out of their way to avoid the tombs.  What is notable here is that they stopped short of attacking the men.  In fact, the first words are, “What do you want from us, Son of God?”  Wow!  No introductions were needed.  The demons knew the person at a level no one possibly understand.  They knew Him better than any of those that knew Him for the past 30 years did.  They wanted to know why He bothered to come to an area they thought they had total control of and the freedom to do whatever they wanted.  They were discovering differently.

The demons continued to shout, “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”  According to Revelation 20:10 Satan and the demons will be cast into a lake of burning sulfur at the end of time.  These demons are acknowledging that they know what is in store for them.  They know what will become of them and who will be in charge of the whole sentencing.  They are worried that they’ll be getting a taste of it a little sooner than expected.

It Gets Personal

Mark and Luke make an interesting observation.  In response, Jesus does not explain His presence.  He demands to know their name.  What is so important about knowing their name?  Names have been scared throughout many cultures over the centuries.  Some native tribes believed that if you know a person’s intimate name then you had control over their soul.  A name gives someone a little bit of a hold on you.  They have something that is yours and yours alone.  By demanding their name, Jesus was letting them know that He was in control.  They could have lied to Him, but remember that they knew exactly who they were dealing with.  He did not need their names to send them away.  He was putting them on the spot in front of many people so that everyone would be clear as to what was going on.  Jesus did not do anything in the dark.  He works in the light for all to see.  It is the devil who is secretive and hides in the shadows.

They give Him the name of Legion.  This might not have been their name in heaven long ago, but it tells Jesus and everyone else around them how many demons are terrorizing these men.  A legion is 100 Roman soldiers.  100 demons were possessing these two men.  No wonder they were crazed and avoided.  These demonic beings knew that their time was up.  They had tried destroying these men and those around them, but had not quite succeeded.  Demons feed on destruction.  It is what they long for.  Their time was up yet they craved destruction.  How could they get a slight victory out of this? 

Looking nearby they saw a herd of pigs.  Jews could not care less for pigs as they were considered unclean.  Why not possess them and everyone wins?  They beg Jesus to send them into the pigs, and He acquiesced.  Why?  Because the townspeople could then see how the destructive beings literally left the two men and finished their destructive course.  Once again, it all had to be plainly displayed so that there was no doubt what happened.  The demons did not just quiet themselves in the men until Jesus left.  They very visibly left them and found other hosts to help them in their task.

Once entering the pigs who have no willpower, no control, and no way to fight them, the demons drive them so crazy in a matter of seconds that the pigs kill themselves by running off a ledge into a lake.  They could not fight back like the men.  They were easy prey for the destructive demons.  When the owners of the pigs saw this, they were in shock.  Who wouldn’t be!  They ran into the village and brought out more people to see the dead pigs and the men who were now calm and sane.  Mouths could not stop going on and on about what had been witnessed. 

The Responses

What were the villagers’ responses?  They begged Jesus to leave.  It was unanimous that He had to go.  He just saved these two men and the ungrateful people were more concerned about their livestock.  Alright, fear probably had a lot to do with it, but a miracle was performed and they missed the wonder of it.  They took it in fear instead of amazement.  God gave them back these men, and they turned God away.

Jesus did not argue with them or point out their rudeness.  He turned to leave.  He knew where He was not wanted and He left them to their darkness.  They were not going to listen to Him.  Yet, one person saw it for what it was and wanted to get closer to that power.  One of the men that had been released from the demons rushed forward this time of his own accord and not that of a demonic presence.  He pleaded to go with Jesus.  He wanted to be close to God.  But Jesus threw a curve ball.  He did not allow the man to come.  This grateful man was turned away.  Why?  Because He was being honored with a special job from the Almighty that only he could perform.  He was to go back and tell others what happened and be a witness for God’s glory.  Here was one of the very first missionaries of the Christian church.   He did not try to renegotiate.  He did not try to change Jesus’ mind.  He turned and did what he was told to do.  What an example for all of God’s children!

The Message to Us

Jesus went to the outcasts, and He faced the demonic hold head on.  By these actions, He is telling us several things.  First of all, if the Lord Himself goes against society’s rules to reach those that have been banned, pushed aside, considered outcasts, or not up to par for the culture, why do we stop short in going to them ourselves?  What prevents us from crossing over that lake that we have placed between us and them and show them some of God’s mercy and grace? 

Secondly, He is showing us who is the boss and who the demons answer to.  Should we be afraid of them?  No.  We should be respectful of the power they possess and humble in knowing that we do not have the power in ourselves to defeat them.  But the Boss does!  Through the Holy Spirit, the name of Jesus, and the presence of God no demonic force can stand against a believer.  When they are totally immersed in these three things, there is no power on earth or beyond that stands a chance. 

Thirdly, do not force yourself where you are not wanted.  So many believers try to force God on people.  Jesus never did that.  The only people that He was up in their faces was the ones who should have known better – the pew shining, attend every Sabbath, large tithers, religious white-washed walls.  To everyone else, He showed love, mercy, and miracles and then left it for them to decide to accept Him or not.  He did not pick up a scroll and beat religion into people.  He showed them love and allowed them to decide which road to take.

Lastly, He showed us how to respond as servants.  When we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we are telling Him that we belong to Him.  We are at His command, part of His army, and ready to answer the call when it comes.  Unfortunately, what generally happens is that we find excuses not to go, choose to ignore Him, or do everything in our power to show how that job is not for us.  The Commander has called us to certain field positions, yet we pull back.  This “unclean” Gentile did not hesitate.  He wanted to go with God, but was willing to put it off a little longer to do the job requested.  How do we compare to this man?


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    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 2 years ago from Wisconsin

      Glad you enjoyed it. It was enjoyable to write.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      You've told this story in such an understandable and captivating way. I recently read this account and was truly impressed at the obedience shown by the men who were recently possessed. It also demonstrated Christ's power and the fact that there are actual demons here on this earth. Very intriguing story and a great one to review.

    • profile image

      poor pigs 5 years ago

      On another note why do you people believe in a god that sends people to hell for the things they have done wrong? I believe that nobody does anything wrong by their own will. It's either to do with something going wrong with their mental state or it's because of how they where brought up. I believe the latter because whenever i hear of someone comitting a crime no matter how bad it is, no matter what terrible crime you can come with, i think to myself that if that person was raised by my mum then that person wouldn't be that way and if the person still was that way then it would be due o mental illness. No one in their right mind would commit such bad crimes if their wasn't something wrong going on inside their brains and the God that i believe in understands this and doesn't just send them to hell. Wake up you and stop being so ignorant to your God's flaws. If i where killed by a man in the worst possible way anyone could imagaine and in heaven i had a chance to condem the man who killed me to death i would choose not to. instead i would choose to care for this man because he would be sick, sick in the mind. But your God and your Jesus would cndem this man to hell. What kind of a message is that??

    • profile image

      Poor pigs 5 years ago

      I'm vegetarian and the moral i get from this story is that innocent animals where killed by Jesus. Poor piggy wiggies :[

    • profile image

      Jose 6 years ago

      A very interesting interpretation of this 'miracle' shows how much jesus liked animals, mainly pigs. His message: dirty animals has no salvation and deserve a dirty death. It is difficult to accept that a good man do not care about animals. Perhaps if jesus had lived in the 21st century he would have had a different world view about pigs and animals in general.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Very good hub. I always felt even the pigs didn't want to be demon possessed. Thanks God He has given us power over all the power of the devil.

    • profile image

      Poe Taytochip 7 years ago

      For it is certain that all things are from God and all things are of God as well, and the theological theory of Pandeism fully accounts for this by discerning all such things -- this miracle and all miracles, revelations, scripture, prophecy, egrigori, spiritual activity, emotion, all of this, and for all faiths -- to be manifestations of the power of God unconsciously underlying our Universe, our Universe as a whole being from God, and of God. And so in the light of the pandeistic model it is proper to rejoice!! Rejoice in discerning that God in fact became our Universe, and exists and experiences through all of us!!

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      gloria 7 years ago

      Beautiful Description of the passage.... very inspiring.

    • profile image

      MichaelH 7 years ago

      A Lamb is certainly a symbol of Christ, not a pig. But I wonder if this passage has anything to do with Pink Floyd flying inflatable pig around the stadium.

      Hmm, maybe they're a Christian band :)

    • profile image

      Rock 7 years ago

      WOW pjk you are the perfect example of one who twists and perverts the word of God. You should really check into what the word says about people like you.

      Hope you like it hot!

    • pjk_artist profile image

      pjk_artist 7 years ago from Turkey Point, ON

      You've completely missed the point of this story. The author's of Mark and Luke are trying to tell us something. In scripture the PIG is a symbol of Christ. Christ is your capacity to imagine. The demon's exist only in your imagination. Since Christ is your capacity to imagine, you have the power to "destroy" any demon's you unwittingly create.

      You said:

      "Lastly, He showed us how to respond as servants. When we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we are telling Him that we belong to Him. We are at His command, part of His army, and ready to answer the call when it comes."

      I say:

      I find this statement offensive. I would re-write it as follows:

      "Lastly, He showed us how to respond as servants. When we accept Him as our own wonderful human imagination, we are telling Him that we know He is part of us. Our commands are His commands, we need no army, and are ready to experience the birth from above when the call comes."

    • Sky321 profile image

      Sky321 7 years ago from Canada

      Great hub! Keep up the good fight!

    • acts38-39 profile image

      acts38-39 7 years ago

      Thanks for the teaching on casting out Demons and spiritual warfare.

      It is so real, but its sad that a lot of people, and

      even a lot of Chirstians don't believe in demons and spiritual warfare.

      Ephesians 6:12 tells us, For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,

      but against principalities,

      against powers, against the rulers of the darkness

      of the age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

      Keep up the good work

      Thank You

      Great Hubs

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      A very enjoyable reading of the casting out of demons story.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for a good hub. Very inspirational.

    • RevLady profile image

      RevLady 7 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      Outstanding RG! I want to be like you when I grow up.

      This is an excellent account of this demon miracle account. When I read this sentence: "They could have lied to Him, but remember that they knew exactly who they were dealing with." I thought it interesting that the demons, knowing who Jesus was did not lie, yet man, knowing who Jesus is will still lie to Him by denying they know Him?

      Great hub dear heart,

      Forever His,

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      You pointed out many important lessons in this teaching - the cutting out of unnecesary talk and description when the situation is vital; not going where one is clearly not wanted, for it is a waste of time - like pouring oil on a dead land; the customs of the time period; deliverance; obedience to one's assignment. This is a great start to Friday!

    • profile image

      EnLydia Listener 7 years ago

      This was the first thing I read was nice to start my day with a Bible was good for me.