The Demons Begged Him
[Matthew 8:31] So the demons begged Him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” [Matthew 8:28-9:1] When He (Jesus) had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they (the demons) cried out, saying, “What have we to do with you, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Now a good way off from them, there was a herd of many swine feeding. So the demons begged Him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water. Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region. So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.
There is much going on in this story that reveals a great deal about the spiritual kingdom we do not see with our natural eyes. (1) There are spiritual forces that operate in, around, and on this earth. (2) Spirits can indwell human and animal bodies. (3) Spiritual powers can manipulate natural forces. (4) There are both good and evil spirits
. (5) The forces of good is superior to the force of evil. (6) Man has power to control these forces.
I do not want to delve too deeply into the spiritual kingdom, but point number one is explained by the Apostle Paul
in his letter to the church at Ephesus in [Ephesians 2:2] “In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the “Prince of the power of the air‘”, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.”
Paul attributes the forces of evil at work in the earth to the “Prince of the power of the air”
or Satan, the chief power behind the forces of evil. Number (2) is illustrated in the above story and documented by the Apostle Matthew
and the Jewish historian Luke, a Gentile doctor who travelled with the Apostle Paul on his missionary journeys to Europe and Asia and wrote the Book of Acts
. (3) In the preceding story which was a part of this trip to the country of the Gergesenes, the twelve disciples are with Jesus in a small boat and a very violent storm comes upon them. Jesus spoke to the winds and the waves and calmed them demonstrating the power of man to control the natural forces of earth. (4) If all of the spirits in the story were of God, Jesus would not have commanded them to leave the man, nor would the demons have asked Jesus if He had come to torment them before the time, which means the time all evil will be cast into the Lake of Fire is drawing closer with each passing day. (5) The power Jesus demonstrated clearly shows the power behind the forces of evil is vastly inferior to the power operating through the child of God. (6) The works Jesus did on earth, He did as a man annointed of God. He did not do these works as God, thus showing the Children of God the power available to them if they will learn to use it for the benefit of the kingdom of God and the betterment of their fellow-man.
There is so much in this story that is not dwelt upon by Matthew, but cries out to the reader to be understood. His story is short and concise relating only the events that took place. For the reader to understand; the who, what, when, where and why principle has to be applied if we are to understand everything that went on in that short period of time that day in the grave yard on the other side of the sea. The points I have listed are just a smidgen of what all is taking place in this story. For example; there is the effects of the power Jesus demonstrated upon the two men from whom the demons were cast out. There is the fearful reaction of the people tending the pigs. There is the reaction of the people who lived in the area; and there is the effect the demons had upon the pigs in the story. I haven’t mentioned why Jesus allowed the demons to enter the herd of swine, or why Jesus left the area shortly thereafter rather than staying and ministering to the needs of the people who came to ask Him to leave. But, I will say, that even though a miracle had taken place in the lives of these two men, other people would have found a way to explain away the change in their life had it not been for the fact they witnessed the demons speaking to Jesus begging not to be thrown into the “Lake of Fire” before their time, and Jesus allowing the demons to enter a herd of peaceful swine feeding on the shores of the lake, who when the demons entered them ran violently down a steep slope into the sea where the whole herd drowned. These events could not be explained away and were included in this story to show that demons powers can indwell humans and animals and can act violently through them.
We in America attribute everything that happens to man as natural occurrences and try to treat them with chemical substances. If these two men had been living in our society today, they would have been diagnosed as being schizophrenic with a chemical imbalance of some sort. When in fact they were demon-possessed and were only reacting to the spiritual power indwelling them. Spiritual powers that indwell men and spirits of infirmities that afflict man can never be treated by natural means. Man can treat the symptoms of a disease, but treating the symptoms does not remove the power behind the symptoms. We can treat the pain, but the pain is only a symptom of a much deeper problem. We can remove the results of a disease, but we cannot cut deep enough to remove the cause of the disease. We can drug the human body, but we cannot remove the cause behind the actions of a person. What man treats and tries to cure with natural medicines is only the part of us that is trying to tell us we have a spiritual problem. When a person came to Jesus with an ailment in their body, He took control over the spirit behind the problem and the person’s body was healed. As in the story of the two demon possessed men above, He didn’t drug their minds and bodies to control them, He took charge over the root cause of their problem and set the two men free. He knew and was teaching His disciples that what we see in the natural realm has a root cause in the spiritual realm, and if we are to deal with our problems effectively, we will have to get rid of the root cause of them if we expect to see a change in the natural realm in which we live.
What makes one man a man of peace and another man a murderer? Neither of these people was born a man of peace or a murderer. These are traits picked up from the influences in their lives. The murderer could have submitted himself to the spirit of peace had he wanted to and have become a man of peace, and the man of peace could have submitted himself to the spirit of murder and became a murderer. Both of these spiritual powers operate in our world and influence the minds and actions of men. Man is not a zombie without a will of their own, and neither are they forced to do things against their will. The man of peace, wills to be a man of peace, and the murderer, wills to take the life of another human being. They were not born what they became, they became what they are in life according to the choices they make.
The two men in the above story did something that opened a door into their life that allowed the demons to come in and possess them. The demons could not have entered the body of the two men without first receiving the men’s permission to enter them, and once the demons were inside them, the two men could not control them, nor could they dislodge them on their own. All demons are terrorist in nature who comes to steal, kill and to destroy every thing they gain possession of. [John 10:10] Not only did the demons terrorize and try to kill the men they possessed, they terrorized the people in the nearby communities as well. Once they gain possession of something their power is released. In this story, no man could bind them and all men were afraid to go near the cemetery where they stayed. Jesus came to their country to set these men free because all men have a special place in the heart of God because they are made in His image and no demon has the right to set foot on anything that belongs to Him. That is not to say demons are not on and in God’s property as this story proves, but they are there illegally and man has the right to remove them as the story also proves. If these demons had a legal right to indwell the two men, Jesus would not have cast them out. The demons certainly understood they did not have the right to be where they were and that is why they begged Jesus not to cast them into the Lake of Fire before their time. The good news is that their time is growing shorter with each passing day and they know they cannot avoid the punishment that is to come; so they are doing everything within their power to destroy every one and every thing they can before that time comes. It will be a glorious day when Satan and his demons are finally put in the place reserved for them, so much so, that there will be a shout of hallelujah, Glory to God, heard throughout all of creation because all things are going to be renewed, sin free, forevermore. DThrash