In our passage today, we are dealing with an account of a man who was suffering from demon possession (cf. unclean spirit, verse 2). This unclean spirit was giving him supernatural strength that was causing fear in the residents of the town. He was consistently found yelling and causing harm to himself, which I’m sure would have made him someone the people avoided at all costs! One of the proofs of the man’s demon possession is that he suffered from self-destructive tendencies. The demons main goal is to destroy God’s creation.
But when Jesus found him, he did not fear the man or the unclean spirits that resided within him; rather, he engaged him and commanded the spirits to leave him. We can tell by verse 8 that Jesus had been commanding the demons many times to come out of him but they had not obeyed. The demons finally left the man and fled into pigs that were in the area; what is to note from this is the nature of the unclean pigs as well as the large amount of pigs showing how great the demon possession of this man was.
After he is freed from the possession of demons, he asks to be with Jesus but Jesus tells him to go and declare all that Jesus had done for him.
What does this mean for us?
What this passage is saying is that God has full power and authority over all sin and evil in this world. In light of this, we see just how powerless we are over sin and evil, and therefore how desperate we are for a Savior. Our response can simply be drawn from the interaction with the formerly demon possessed man and Jesus: out of thankfulness, we are to boldly proclaim what Jesus has done in our life.
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice