The Power of a Testimony: Mark 5:10-17
“10) And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11) Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. 12) The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” 13) Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea. 14) Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. 15) They *came to Jesus and *observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened. 16) Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. 17) And they began to implore Him to leave their region.” Mark‬ ‭5‬:‭10‬-‭17‬ ‭
This might qualify as the shortest mission trip in the Bible. It doesn’t take long for the seeds of the gospel to be planted. When they sprout and start growing, amazing things can happen.
The herdsmen observed the exchange between Jesus and the man with the legion of demons. I often chuckle at this picture. Who wants a job herding two thousand swine in the open range? Pigs are known to have minds of their own. It is not mentioned how many herdsmen were required for 2,000 swine, but it must have been many?
Luke 15:15-17 gives some commentary on pig farming in this region. The Prodigal son ended up in the pig fields feeding swine. It was the lowliest of jobs. The text indicates the swine were concentrated around feeding troughs.
The lunatic man with legions of demons made his home between the tombs and the swine fields. It is not a stretch to assume that he satisfied his appetite eating slop among the swine. This was the temptation that of the starving Prodigal son in Luke 15:16. The man with legions of demons was more at home among the swine than with people.
But, don’t make the mistake of assuming that all demon possessed people become this dysfunctional. Those being “abused” by unclean spirits certainly can be mercilessly tormented. But those being “used” by demons can be given positions of power, influence and authority. (See Luke 4:5-6) Such was the deal Satan offered Jesus during His temptations in the wilderness.
As Legion begged Jesus not to send them out of the country, he entreated Him to send them into the swine. It must be noted that this encounter took place prior to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ where Satan was defeated. We are now in a different time and epoch. (See Acts 1:7) Today, born-again Christians minister by different rules when engaging the enemy in deliverance ministry.
As soon as they departed into the swine, the herdsmen lost control over the pigs. We could say that chaos broke out. The entire herd of swine rushed down the steep bank and perished in the sea. They committed mass “pigocide.” I know that is not an English word, but it captures the sadistic nature of Satan. (See John 10:10)
It is here that the story takes a tragic turn. The herdsman ran into the city and reported the whole incident. (Mark 5:14-17) Many came out to see and hear what had happened. They scene that awaited them was frightening. The contrast was chilling.
To one side, they saw the formerly demon possessed man seated by Jesus fully clothed and in his right mind. Jesus always gives new cloths and a new mind to those who come to Him. Toward the sea they saw the two thousand pigs. Some were already dead and bobbing in the waves. Others were most likely still squealing and drowning.
Fear gripped them and they did the most unthinkable thing. They began to entreat Jesus to depart from their region. Being the perfect gentleman, Jesus beckoned His disciples back into the boat and peacefully departed. However, as we shall see in the next section, Jesus left behind one new believer to tell his story throughout Decapolis. (Mark 5:20)
What difference can one man or woman make? Ask the city of Sychar about the influence of the Samaritan woman. (See John 4:1-45) Ask the people of Decapolis about the impact of the formerly demon possessed man who Jesus set free and healed. (Mark 5:18-20)
Never underestimate the power of a testimony. Ask the people in the wake of your testimony and influence if Jesus can make a difference? If there are none, you have a problem that needs fixing.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global