TEXT: Matthew 8:28-34
28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.
31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.
34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.
In this record of Jesus casting out demons, we have seen many strange things — men dwelling in graveyards, demons conversing with Jesus, their request to enter a herd of swine, and a stampede of suicidal swine. But, in this story, there is perhaps nothing stranger than the response of the community to these events. Jesus had delivered them from the terrorization of two demoniacs that made venturing outside the city unsafe. He restored the men, two members of their own community, to sanity. The swine-herders, who apparently had been watching these events from a safe distance, “went into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.” The Bible says, “Behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.”
What a strange reaction to such deliverance! What a strange reaction to this display of authority and power! How are we to understand the mentality of the people in this region? Dr. John MacArthur writes: “We are not told exactly what the people from the city thought of Jesus. We only know that they had a glimpse of the supernatural and it caused them to panic. They saw One who could control demons, who could control animals, and who could restore shattered minds to sanity—and they wanted nothing to do with Him.
“It is here that we find the first opposition to Jesus recorded in the gospels. The people did not ridicule or persecute Jesus; they simply asked Him to leave them alone. Perhaps they resented His righteousness exposing their sin, His power exposing their weakness, or His compassion exposing their hardness of heart. Perhaps they could not tolerate Jesus because of His perfection. But unlike the scribes and Pharisees, these people showed no interest at all in who Jesus was or in His teaching or work. They seemed totally indifferent to His person and ministry. They did not care if He was the Messiah. They did not seem to care whether His powers were good or whether He was from God. They did not care anything about Him, except that He would go away. Their rejection of Jesus was in the form of great indifference, the same indifference to God shown by most men throughout history—the indifference that wants to let God alone and to be left alone by God. The Lord was an intrusion with whom they did not want to be bothered.”
Most people today treat God this way. They don’t want God interfering with their plans. They want to live the way they like. They say, “I’m doing it my way.” If you ask them if they hate God, they would say, “No. I just don’t want him messing up what I have going on.” However, no matter how hard we try to shut Him out, in the words of Peter Larson, “God intrudes” at one point or another, and forces us to reckon with Himself.
Dr. MacArthur continues, “In great contrast to the attitude of those people, Mark tells us that one of the men who had been demon-possessed begged Jesus ‘that he might accompany Him.’ He was so grateful to Jesus for deliverance and so drawn to Him in love and adoration that he could not bear to be separated from Him. But Jesus had other plans for the man, and ‘He did not let him, but said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.”‘ Jesus sent the man back to his own people—the very people who had asked Jesus to leave—to testify- to them of the Lord’s love and mercy. The man was to be an evangelist and missionary to his own people, living testimony that the One whom they had rejected nevertheless loved and sought to redeem them. Even to those who entreat Him to depart, Jesus extends His grace.”
In this way, Jesus did not leave the people of the Gerasene region alone as they requested. He still determined to reach them, sending to them as a witness one of their own who had lived through the depths of darkness and demonic possession and had been delivered by the power of God. Whether we like it or not, whether we want Him to or not, Jesus continues to intrude in our lives because He loves us and longs for us to be delivered from darkness as well.
W.A. Ogden wrote:
‘Tis the grandest theme thro’ the ages rung;
‘Tis the grandest theme for a mortal tongue;
‘Tis the grandest theme that the world e’er sung:
Our God is able to deliver thee.
‘Tis the grandest them in the earth or main;
‘Tis the grandest theme for a mortal strain;
‘Tis the grandest theme, tell the world again:
Our God is able to deliver thee.
‘Tis the grandest theme, let the tidings roll
To the guilty heart, to the sinful soul;
Look to God in faith, He will make thee whole:
Our God is able to deliver thee.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at email@example.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.