Here is a picture of the only two possible responses of humanity to Jesus Christ. On the one hand there is the demon-possessed man and on the other the Gadarenes. John Woolley gave four questions to ask ourselves of this passage:
- Why were the Gadarenes in this position? This is a wonderful picture of Christian conversion. The demon-possessed man’s life is totally out of control, then Jesus arrives and his ‘chains fell off.’ The Gadarenes couldn’t deny this, they couldn’t ignore the evidence of change within this man. Yet they told Jesus to leave. They were in this position because Jesus was confronting them with who he was, “you’re either for me or against me.” The Christian message is too vital to pass by.
- What were their reactions? a) They were afraid, they couldn’t get out of their mind what they were seeing. b) They plead with Jesus to leave, according to the Greek , they physically push him.
- Why did they respond this way? The huge herd of swine had just vanished off a cliff in front of their eyes. There is a fear sometimes that if we believe in Jesus Christ then we will have to give up things in our lives. This may be the case (as the farmers lost their livelihoods), but our souls are of much more value than this present life. This fear and the desire to push him away is a universal experience when confronted with God. Left to ourselves we would never choose to follow Jesus. We are incapable of coming to and choosing him.
- How will you respond to Christ? We have to say that we are like these people. But that is the wonder of God’s grace. However dark and sinful we are is irrelevant, it is the grace of God that makes the difference.