Now there was a large herd of pigs feeding nearby on the mountain. And the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us into the pigs so that we may enter them.” Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the pigs; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.

Being a predominately Gentile region, it is no surprise that there would have been a herd of pigs nearby. Pigs were ceremonially unclean according to Jewish law but would have been common in a region of Gentiles. But why would the demons want to enter into a herd of swine?

The demons were set on destruction. After all, it is in their nature. And if they could no longer destroy the man they had possessed, then they would move onto some other part of God’s creation. Perhaps they thought it would be an escape—a back door to escape the punishment of either Jesus or their own master. Alas, they were mistaken, and they were met with their own destruction as a result.

Though it is undoubtedly an odd scene to imagine, the incident with the pigs would have likely meant that others would tell about what happened. It wasn’t just that the crazy man from the caves was suddenly calm and compliant. They would have seen it happen and watched the herd of pigs rush to their deaths. Indeed, they ran and told everyone about it (5:14).

Jesus would stop at nothing to ensure the destruction of such evil forces. As He looked upon the man who had been plagued and possessed for far too long, He would ensure they no longer had power over anyone or anything. As bizarre as it is to imagine a possessed herd of pigs, we are reminded of both the power and protection of our Savior. Seeing our descent into darkness, Jesus has pulled us out. Seeing our chains, He has freed us. Seeing our chaos, He has calmed our hearts and minds.

  • Where do you need the Lord to free you? To bring calm to your chaos?
  • How do you need to ensure that others witness God’s power in your life? How do you need to call attention to what He has done?
  • Thank God for stopping at nothing to ensure our freedom from sin, darkness, and destruction. Ask Him to continue to free you from the chains you continue to put back on.