Summary: Once we take the first step towards disobedience, the next is much easier.
The Slope of Disobedience
Once we take the first step towards disobedience, the next is much easier.
The Slope is Started (v.28)
The place where Jesus met these men was what is now called Gadara.
It is on the east side of the Jordan River, and was given to the tribe of Gad. (Numbers 32:1-2, 6)
The people of Gad didn’t want to cross the Jordan. They were content to stay where they were.
(Numbers 32:13-15) The Lord became angry with the people.
There was work to be done, battles to fight, and the promise of the Lord was to be fulfilled.
Yet, they would have been content to stay where they were and allow others to fight.
Sin starts with contentment. Contentment that enough has been done.
The Lord declared that if they wouldn’t be wiling to come across and fight, they wouldn’t receive their possession in the east.
They would have to come across and fight with the rest of the tribes in order to receive the land they wanted.
There is no place in the army of the Lord for contentment. There is no such thing as “arriving.”
Yet the forefathers of these two demon possessed men had to be coerced into following the Lord’s commands.
Sin enters the camp a little bit at a time. Not all at once.
The logic of the Gadites was simple, we are cattlemen, and there is grass and water here. We need to stay here and get started with our lives.
But the logic fell short of the Lord’s desire for the nation as a whole.
There was a promise of land, a place of belonging, not only for those who chose to stay, but also for all of God’s people.
They were in the conquest together, and together they would have to fight.
The Slope Gets Steeper (29-31)
Notice that the people of Gadara were pig farmers. They were out of the cattle and sheep business and into the pig business.
Pigs were unclean. Good Jewish people didn’t have pigs.
I have to believe that the attitude of the forefathers was still present in the day of Jesus.
Sin crept into the attitudes of the people and began to whittle away at the morality of the people.
It is no wonder that there were demon-possessed men living in tombs, chasing away everyone who came near. The people had allowed sin to become so entrenched in the fabric of the their society that such possession became possible.
Christian psychologist will tell you that many of the things they confront today are the result of demon possession.
Satan isn’t satisfied with influencing the occasional outburst of sin. He wants to control the lives of as many people as he can.
These men were the physical embodiment of evil.
They didn’t start out that way. They didn’t wake up one morning and decide to become possessed.
But, it began to take more and more to get the same thrill they once received. Soon they had immersed themselves in Godless behavior.
And Godless they became.
The Slope Swept Them Away (32-34)
The pigs had more sense than the people of Gadara did.
The pigs had rather die than be possessed so they ran down the slope into the sea and drowned.
Sin destroys. That is always the goal of Satan and his demonic hordes.
The demons thought they would be safe in pigs, but the pigs knew better.
As the pigs were swept away to their destruction in the sea, they people swept out of the city and asked Jesus to leave.
There, before their eyes was a great and powerful miracle wrought by the Son of God.
There before their eyes were two men no longer possessed, but in their right minds.
Did the people of Gadara stop and worship the Lord? Did they pause to consider what had just happened?
No, They were more concerned that their pigs were gone.
Complacency, contentment, a Godless society.
In the verses that follow we see that Jesus did indeed leave.
Jesus will never go where He isn’t wanted. Jesus will never stay where He isn’t welcomed.
Jesus will never stay where a people are content with their spiritual state.
There are promises to fulfill. not just for some, but for all.
Jesus came to offer eternal life to all who would receive Him. He came to offer a deeper meaning to our spiritual existence.
What about you? Are you content with where you are? Are you satisfied to let someone else take your place in the fight?
A replacement soldier in the Civil War came running up to the commanding general a battle and asked, “Sir, where do you want me? What do you want me to do?” The general said, “Son, fall in anywhere. There is fighting up and down the line!”