The People's Response
In this passage, notice that these were Jews who were nevertheless raising unclean animals, swine, in violation of God’s Law. In acting to heal the man as He had, Jesus was doing two things. He was cleansing a man and showing His power over evil spirits, and He was also rebuking the people of the town for having departed from the Law of God to deal with unclean animals. He had accomplished two cleansings: the man’s was a blessing, but the town’s was a rebuke. Yet the townspeople did not repent; instead, in fear they pleaded with Him to leave their region. There are some people who, if you offered them a deed to property or a spiritual blessing, would choose the material over the spiritual. They are not like Solomon, who was wise enough to realize that to choose the spiritual blessing was to choose everything one would ever need. These townspeople saw only the threat to their livelihood. So the Lord Jesus obeyed their terrible request and left them.
See what blindness sin brought to these people! Mark has shown us that Jesus is Lord equally over the wind, the seamen’s sick bodies, the demons of the spiritual world and the sin of men’s souls. Because He is God Almighty, the earthly and the spiritual are all under His rule. But the mind that is darkened by sin and set on earthly things does not see that. It fears spiritual power, for it senses its own estrangement from the source. It sees only the material world as valuable and seeks to remove itself from any connection with the spiritual world. For Jesus, the material world was His servant in spiritual ministry, as in the case of the swine. A sinless Jesus sees that the two spheres are joined together under God, but sinful people seek to banish the spiritual and cling to what is earthly. Certainly, that pattern is repeated in millions of hearts today.
- Why were pigs considered unclean or unlawful to eat?
- What does Christ’s power over evil spirits tell us about Him?
- How is Christ able to be Lord over both earthly and the spiritual?