The locality of the Gadarenes was afflicted by a one-man terrorist machine. We read that, “this man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.” (Mark 5:3-5). Then Jesus came and the whole situation was transformed.
Jesus confronts the man and the demons. The demons are driven out of the man. Those same demons invade the pigs which were on the hillside; two thousand of them. The pigs then went down the hillside into the sea and drowned.
The keepers of the pigs told those in the city what had happened and all went to observe. In particular they saw that a man who had been a maniac had been cleansed of the demons and was now, “sitting there, dressed and in his right mind” (Mark 5:15b). The eye witnesses recounted what had happened to them and the pigs.
Then we have the amazing conclusion that, “the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.” (Mark 5:17). They had been relieved of a nightmare; they now had the anticipation of peace in the neighbourhood and they wanted rid of the man who had brought such blessing. Why was this?
Fundamentally, they realised that this man, Jesus, changes lives. They had seen a life changed before their eyes. And if he could change Legion’s life, he could also change their lives. And guess what, they did not want to be changed. They also realised that he could affect them financially. After all the pig owners were now counting the cost of having Jesus around as they pondered upon their drowned pigs. And if he could ruin the livelihoods of the pig owners then he could affect the financial situation of everyone else as well.
So their conclusion was they did not want their lives changed and they did not want their pockets hit. They pleaded with Jesus to go, therefore, and leave them in peace. Which, of course, shows us something of the madness of unbelief. Here they were rejecting the One who actually had brought peace to their community.
Things do not change. It is just the same today; people do not want to have Jesus around. Perhaps you have seen how he has transformed someone’s life, but you do not want to be changed yourself. How very sad!
The general truth stands that people want to be left where they are. One of the worst curses in life is to be left in our comfort to drift comfortably to hell. Then there will be an eternity to regret choosing comfort rather than Christ. Do not make that mistake.