This will be part 4 in my series on The Naked Gadarene. I am still stuck in Mark 5! There is so much packed in this chapter and I can’t seem to read anything else right now. We’ve talked a lot about this demon possessed man in this chapter over the last few weeks. There are just a few more thing that I’d like to show you in this story before we move on.
I wrote recently about what we could learn from the way the demon possessed man responded to the presence of Jesus. In studying this, I found that there is also much to be learned by how the farmers in the story responded to the presence of Jesus. After Jesus delivers this man, the demons go into a herd of pigs nearby, causing the pigs to run into the sea and die. The farmers that were feeding the pigs then run into the city and tell everyone what happened. The people then come to see for themselves and then ask Jesus to leave. There are a few things I notice in this part of the story that I think will relate to us.
1. They Were too Preoccupied with Themselves to Help Anyone Else
This man is here hurting and in torment and the farmers are ignoring him. They were so caught up in their work feeding the pigs that they did not reach out to help this man in need. How often do we get preoccupied with our own stuff that we don’t even see the people around us that need us so badly? There are people all around us that are desperately in need of someone to love them and pray for them, but we are too busy feeding swine. Don’t get so busy feeding your own pigs that you are no longer aware of the needs around you.
2. They Could not Celebrate Someone Else’s Victory
This man finally gets healed and instead of celebrating with him, the farmers are skeptical. And then they ask Jesus to leave! This happens all of the time. It’s easy to celebrate when Jesus is blessing you, but what do you do when someone else is getting blessed? Better yet, what do you do when Jesus wants to bless someone else at your expense? These men lost their pigs! You have a decision to make when this happens. You can celebrate what God has done in another persons life, or you can be offended and allow your jealousy to hinder the presence of Jesus. Remember in Mark 6 when Jesus is in Nazareth? Don’t let your offense and unbelief cause Jesus to leave your island! Let me help you with this one…it’s not always about you and your own pigs!
3. They Were not Willing to pay the Cost
The presence of Jesus is costly. When Jesus comes to your side of the sea, He is going to require some things from you. This is hard for some people to understand. When Jesus shows up, He is going to ask you to give up some things that you may be holding on to. In this story, this was not a small herd of pigs. In fact, some commentators estimate that this herd of pigs may have costed up to $250,000! It is my opinion that the reason these people asked Jesus to leave was because of the economic loss He caused while delivering this man. I believe this because in verse 20, the people start to celebrate and marvel that this man was healed. So they were eventually excited that he was healed, they just weren’t too excited about how he was healed and how much it cost them. I think the people may have asked Jesus to leave because they feared what He might cost them next. How often do we reject the presence of Jesus because we are preoccupied with our own personal gain? How often are we not willing to pay the cost when Jesus shows up?
Are you preoccupied with pigs or presence? Don’t waste anymore time worrying about the pigs in your life. The life that Jesus wants to give you is worth far more than any herd of pigs He may cost you in the process. I am praying a prayer this morning that I have prayed many times in my life – Jesus, more of you at any cost!