“And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. 29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) 30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. 32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. 33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. 34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.
35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 36 They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. 37 Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned. 38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. 40 And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him”
The Prayer of Demons
There are three prayers offered in this narrative of the healing of the Gadarene maniac. One prayer was offered by the demons who were cast out of the man. They asked the Lord to allow them to go to some swine nearby, “that we may enter into them.” The demons did not want to be confined in hell. Hell is spoken of in the Bible as an exceedingly terrible sphere of existence. Jesus declared that those who go to hell enter the horrible place where, “their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44, 46, 48). The Lord also depicted hell as a place of “outer darkness,” where there “will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30). Hell must be a terrible state of existence if the demons would rather dwell in swine than go there.
The Prayer of a Maniac
Another prayer was offered by the healed man. “Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him” (Luke 8:38). There were good reasons why the man wanted to stay with Christ. In Jesus he had received three gifts.
First, there was the gift of rest. Prior to meeting Christ the man was tormented by a legion of demons who tossed him in many emotional and conflicting directions and tormented him day and night. People tried to bind the man with chains, but to no avail. There are many people like the man from the country of the Gadarenes. They are in the throes of lust, or alcohol, gluttony, or greed. They cannot control themselves and no man can tame them, except Christ. Jesus says to such individuals, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Christ has come to set the captives free.
Second, the man of Gadarene received clothing. The demons made the man naked and shameful. Jesus restored the man’s sanity and placed clothes on his body to cover up his shame. Spiritually, every person who comes to Christ is given the clothes of righteousness. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10). When God looks at Christians, He does not look at them with their filthy rags of sin. Rather, God sees Christians clothed with the righteousness of Christ.
Third, the Gadarene received the gift of reason. The people of the region found the former wild man sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed and in his right mind. Sin has distorted the mind, will, and emotions of man. Because of sin, terrible emotions raged within the soul leading to vile behavior. Because of sin, wrong choices are often made. Because of sin the mind of man is distorted so that he no longer thinks as clearly as he should or could. Christ will restore right reason.
The Prayer of a Foolish People
There was a final prayer offered in the narrative. It was offered by the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes. The people round about besought him to depart from them (v. 37). The basis for this request was fear. The people were afraid of Christ. But there was no reason to fear for Christ is the fulness of the Godhead bodily expressed. And God is love. Because of irrational fear the people asked Love to depart from their midst. Because of fear the people asked the Caregiver to stop showing expressions of care. How sad that is. How tragic. Oh, let us not be so foolish as to let fear cause us to pray in such a way that Christ is sent away. Rather, let us rejoice that Jesus has come to give us the gifts of God. Then, we shall be blessed. When we pray, let us believe God is listening, and God will answer our prayers according to His good will.