Help for the Helpless

A herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them. Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned.

When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed. Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.

Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:32–39)

The demons asked Jesus if they could go into the pigs. He gave them permission. The pigs drowned. The people of the region asked Jesus if he would please leave them, and so Jesus left them. But the man who was freed from the demons, who wanted to go with Jesus and leave with him? Jesus told him no.

Jesus did what the demons wanted. Jesus did what the people in the region of the Gadarenes wanted. But he didn’t do what the man that he’d healed from the demons wanted.

The demons did not get what they wanted, however. Their pigs drowned. And the people of the region of the Gadarenes didn’t really get what they wanted, either. Because the healed man stayed and he told them all about what Jesus had done for him. He became a missionary for Jesus; he brought the news of God’s kingdom to them.

And so, in the end, the formerly demon possessed man was the only one who got what he wanted: a new life filled with Jesus. He may not have traveled with Jesus, but Jesus traveled with him.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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