When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. 29 And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”
30 Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.”
32 And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.
33 Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region. ~ Matthew 8:28-34.
“two demon-possessed men. . .coming out of the tombs” (v.28). — They had been ostracized by the community and this was the only place where they could find shelter. During this period small manmade or natural caves were used as burial places.
Probably only one of these two demoniacs was exceedingly violent (fierce), and so Mark and Luke mention only that one. Matthew is concerned about the double witness of the testimony.
“Son of God” (v.29). — These demons recognized who Jesus was (cf. James 2:19).
“before the time” — The spiritual realm knows that a time has been set for God to judge the living and the dead, humans, and angels (cf. Philippians 2:10-11; Revelation 11:15).
The demons have an apparently legitimate complaint; it is not yet “the time,” the Day of Judgment. But Jesus is present and is already breaking the powers of darkness (12:28).
“demons” (v.31). — The Greek word translated “demons” is a broad term for “divinities” (Acts 17:18), and supernatural beings. “Unclean spirits” (10:1) caused havoc with people, sometimes by possession. They are in league with Satan, the prince of demons (9:34; 12:24–28). Jesus throws out Satan’s servants as a sign of the arrival of God’s kingdom (12:28).
“a herd of many swine” (v.30). — It was a Gentile area shown by the presence of these pigs.
Jesus permitted the demons to enter the pigs (v.32), perhaps because the Day of Judgment had not yet arrived. Subsequent events demonstrated the perverse values of the community, that preferred its pigs to the rescue of two human beings. Luke 8:31 reports the plea of the demons that they not be sent to the abyss.
“they begged Him to depart from their region” (v.34). — This is one of the saddest verses in all of the Bible. In the presence of God in the flesh, these villagers were more concerned about the death of a few pigs than they were over the redemption and reclamation of two demonized persons and the spiritual potential of the gospel for their area.