Saved from Satan, Pt. 2
Sep 12, 2021
3. Saved from certain judgment (vv. 30-32)
Several questions come up from these verses and most we cannot answer with certainty.
Why do the demons want to stay? Why do they beg to go into pigs? Why does Jesus grant their request?
Matthew 8:30 says the pigs were in sight, “at some distance from them” (v. 30) – maybe a mile.
The demons certainly did not want to be sent to Hell yet and so maybe the pigs were a ready option? Some tie the pigs to the Old Testament Law saying they were unclean, but this is a Gentile region, so that doesn’t work. The pigs are a physical way to display the magnitude of what’s going on! One scholar takes a page to defend Jesus against animal cruelty which I thought was funny. The pigs are his illustration.
The demons which there are many, in fact, believed Jesus might have been there to torment or toy with them before they would be thrown into the Lake of Fire. The herd of pigs is an interesting example of the Lord using nature to symbolize something. Here it is judgment. These demons believed they could get away from Jesus’ judgment by offering a suggestion that he might not have thought of.
Can you please just cast us into the pigs. Don’t kill us! Don’t cast us into Hell yet! Just put us over there and we will not cause anyone any more harm. Demons will negotiate all kinds of things with people. If you just keep us over here out of harms way then we will not torment any of you any longer.
These kinds of compromises are the kinds of third-party temptations that will eat away your soul. Remember, we are in a constant battle with our flesh, but we also are taking enemy flack being flanked from Satan and his demons. We kill the flesh and while we resist demonic negotiations. Jesus cast these demons into the swine, not as a grace but as a judgment. O, you want in the pigs do you? Ok, then go into judgement!
Verse 32 is Jesus’ command where he said, “Go.” The question is, “What do you think happened?” The text reads a matter of fact in that it says, “So they came out and went into the pigs.” Jesus commands the demons and they obey. There is no contest of power and there is no sense of struggle. Jesus is God and consequently the demons knew their place. Just as we observe from Job in heaven. Satan and his angels approached God for permission to do whatever they were going to do. Now I understand that there is the great story unfolding in redemption history where Satan is mounting his armies against the Lord’s purposes and this full drama has yet to unfold where Satan and his demons will ultimately be vanquished. So, now how does this jive with God’s absolute control over what Satan and his demons do? We must resist, fight, trust, and know that God fights for us while this battle rages. So, the balance is struck by understanding that God is sovereign over demons in two ways. In the immediate sense and in the ultimate sense and these two dynamics happen at the same time and are both for his glory.
Jesus cast out demons at will, but he still encounters them in real time. And Jesus at the Cross struck the ultimate death blow to Satan who has already fallen like lightening. We who are in Christ experience demons in this two-fold way as well. Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. And at the same time, we wrestle not against flesh and blood but principalities. We take up the shield of faith. We take every though captive to the obedience of Christ.
This two-fold dynamic is what makes for joy in the Christian life with which is also the Christian fight. When dynamics happen that are unexplainable and only explainable by seeing that demons are at work then how do we respond. Two ways. One with the confidence of Scriptural weaponry. Prayer, promises, and counterattacks with truth. Secondly, we respond with confidence that we know we are bulletproof from anything in the way of a mortal blow. We take hits to our faith. We fall to discouragement. We may splutter for a time but we ultimately know our confidence will not be shaken because Satan cannot strip away our faith, our salvation.
The demons went into the pigs, where they thought they would find safety. Satan had inhabited a serpent, so the pigs thought these swine would provide similar cover. But, something else happened. These pigs, also under God’s control rushed down into the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. This is symbolic of all demons one day being cast into the Lake of Fire. This is a fait accompli or forgone conclusion, and these demons are made fully aware of this reality. I have no idea what happened to them when the swine drowned but these demons are locked into their judgement.
The ancient folklore said, demons would be drowned by water. I believe these demons were immediately sent to the underworld. Luke uses the words, “the abyss” (cf. Lk. 8:31).
ESV Luke 8:31 And they begged him not to command them to depart into athe abyss.
ESV 2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare aangels when they sinned, but bcast them into hell1 and committed them to chains2 of gloomy darkness cto be kept until the judgment
ESV Jude 1:6 And athe angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day--
Warren Weirsbe wrote that for Satan, “a pig is as good as a man!” – “In fact, Satan will make a man into a pig!” More than anything, this was a vivid warning of what happens when you give in to Satan.
Pigs rushed as a herd clearly demonstrating Jesus’ power (v. 32).
They were drowned literally “choked in the sea” (cf. Mk. 5:13). This pictures that these demons were out of commission at least in terms of their mission to terrorize.
Being drowned was a picture of Hell.
Remember Hell was where this man was headed. Hell is where you are headed apart from Christ and Satan wants to drag you there.
The other side of this event was to leave no doubt about this man’s deliverance. The demons were out of him!
This was kind of deliverance was unique and serious. Jesus had healed numerous people who were terrorized by demons, healing the masses. In this case he crossed a 6 mile sea. He calmed a storm to get there. And he healed two men.
The shepherd leaves the 99 to go after 1. This is a picture of Jesus perusing men in desperation.
You might think you are beyond hope but you are not.
4. You are saved from fear of Christ (vv. 33-34)
How powerful was this demonstration? “The herdsmen fled” (v. 33). They might have been angry that their money making herd was destroyed. More than that was the shocking nature of what had happened to their pigs but more the demoniac!
Cross referencing Mark 5:15 says they found “the demon-possessed man…clothe in his right mind, and they were afraid.”
What happens when you are transformed by Christ? You are clothed in your right mind. What happens when you Christ transforms your mind? Guilt, doubt, confusion, and fears are quieted. You now have peace with God and the mind of Christ. When you become reborn, renewed, you are noticeably different.
This man was so strikingly different that it struck “fear” in people’s hearts.
What’s unique is that these who were observing this man only were privy to what the “herdsman” told them had happened, so they were only seeing this man’s before and after.
This is what becoming a Christian looks like to people who know you. Your friends see your before and after. Nobody sees, nor can see, God’s work in the heart. What’s visible is your state of mind after you become a Christian.
His new state of mind was enough to completely freak them out – “afraid” [lit. phobos] -- the same word used of the disciples after Jesus calmed the storm! The people didn’t want to be anywhere near this kind of miracle worker.
This again proves that raw exposure to Christ’s power alone does not open a person’s heart. They have to be opened by the grace and Spirit of God to embrace and love Jesus.
What’s ironic is that Mark 5:16 describes grace! A Legion of demons came out of a man’s life! A man was healed – saved from himself – saved from Satan! And all the people could do is beg Jesus “to depart from their region!” “Leave Jesus!”
It’s frightening to encounter Jesus’ power as I explained last week. This same fear gripped Jesus’ disciples when they realized Jesus was God in their boat (Mt. 8:26; Mk. 4:41). [KEY] But what’s more frightening is the prospect of “begging Jesus to leave” and for him to answer you by “leaving”.
Our sin convinces us of bizarre things. [Note] I think these people had become convinced that they were better off with Demoniacs. They had accepted that this was hopeless. Jesus had come and messed things up, messing up the livelihood of the herdsmen and what they were used to. So, now Jesus needs to leave.
The response of the herdsmen and the people of the city is amazing. The news of the herds of pigs rushing into the sea was big news. This must have been a dramatic number of pigs that went over the side of the cliff. Legion of demons being thousands must have accounted for the same amount of pigs or a like number. Not a small little farmer’s herd but a mass of produce like a cattle ranch meant to feed or provide revenue for an entire city. Their crop was destroyed by this event. What is significant is that the herdsmen “fled” meaning what had happened frightened them. What scared them had more to do with the power of Christ then the pigs. Jesus was able to cast out the stronghold on these super empowered men. Men who were impassable by everyone. The concern of the people was for Jesus to leave? Why? You would think they would be relieved for these demon possessed men to dealt with. These terrorist were now dealt with but they people wanted things to go back to the way they were. The only answer I can see is that when posed with the option of righteousness or evil, people choose evil. They had their herds. They had their means of provision and yes they were blocked by demon-possessed men but they had become accustomed to this way of life. Evil was this town’s default and they were satisfied with it. So, what are you supposed to do with this? Choose Christ’s path? Someone who vanquished the problem? Yes, their crop of pigs was destroyed but the people could not see that their deepest problem was not worldly provision but their need for Christ. “How will we survive without pigs and without the system that was in place for us to survive?” They say, “Jesus we know you are the power source behind what happened, so be gone!” We can’t have our old life and we do now want this new one! It is amazing when people see the power of God and then reject it. Life changing power and they turn their backs on it. I do not want it, they say. The power of Christ is both attractive and repulsive depending on whether you want his righteous presence!
This is what it is like being a believer. Just by “sitting there” you can be rejected by people that you are now not like.
5. Saved to win those closest to you (cf. Mark 5:18-20)
In direct contrast - verse 18 tells us the formerly “demon-possessed” man begs to stay with Jesus. There’s a whole lot of begging going on in this story. He does the exact opposite of what the townsmen are doing. This man’s drawing near to Christ. What’s interesting is that it is clearly not God’s will for this man to stay in direct contact with Christ. No, it is God’s will for this man to travel back home. Jesus sends him home to go and tell his family and probably even the shepherds what’s happened to him.
Where is it toughest mission field? Where is it toughest to live the Christian life? And who are your hardest critics when it comes to your Christian testimony? I would venture to say that whether we would admit it or not it is in our home. And it is with our family.
This is because our home represents the relationships that are behind closed doors. This is the place where the people who know us the most – strengths and weaknesses get the up close and personal and this is the exposure to the best and worst of us.
This is why the standard for spiritual leadership is measured first and foremost in the home. 1 Timothy 3:5, “…for is if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” Titus 1:6 says, “…and his children are believers…”
Listen, the easiest place to let your guard down is in the home. As you probably well know you home can be the place of deep sympathy and encouragement and contra wise be a household of hurt and criticism. This still is our first mission field.
Spiritual leadership not to mention all believers are to have a good reputation with those who live around us, our neighbors. This too can be extremely difficult to manage as the people who are up close and see your day to day. “How do win people who are closest to you?” Simply put, you remember you were saved from Satan.
Conclusion: You were saved from Satan by a substitute. You were the Demoniac – Alone - Separated, Sinful, Perverse, Isolated, Naked, Self-destructive, Demonized and Jesus took your place, became Sin, was Stripped Naked, Isolated. The darkest moment of Jesus’ life was where he was all alone and cried out, “My God my God why have you forsaken me?”
– “crucified outside of the camp” (Hebrews 13:11) – Separated from His Father.
Jesus went into death’s tomb, where Satan appeared to have won. But he did not win.
He did this, so that you could be delivered by the transforming power of Christ. You have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ – you are at peace with God – you have a renewed heart – you have the mind of Christ. You are freed to follow Christ by obeying His will. You are Christ’s ambassador reach your most intimate world with your new testimony.