Matt 8:28-29 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” NIV
Of all the instances of exorcism in Scripture, this one is best-known. It’s the account of Christ delivering the man with demons self-described as Legion. Mark 5:1-19 and Luke 8:26-39 also describe this encounter, though Matthew indicates there were actually two men Jesus confronted. Our attention will be on the man who was the main focus of this dramatic encounter with evil. The area where the deliverance occurred was alternately known as the region of the Gadarenes and the Gergesenes, two cities that were part of a ten-city complex called Decapolis. There are several interesting aspects to this amazing deliverance.
First, the man came out of, or lived among tombs. Don’t think in terms of a contemporary graveyard or cemetery. These tombs were actually caves cut into the hillside, located some distance from the city. Unlike modern times where cemeteries are places of homage with manicured surroundings, graveyards in Christ’s time were not locations of veneration. Families did not come to lay wreaths or plant posies. Graveyard sites were remote and foreboding, the haunt of robbers, thieves, and criminals who resorted to such secluded places to hide. Why Christ was there we aren’t told. He clearly knew of these tombs and the tormented souls who dwelt there and likely approached them on purpose.
Second, the demons first ask why Jesus has come there. Has the Son of God come to torment them before their appointed time of final judgment in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20)? These evil spirits know of their eventual doom. They understand that it is Christ who will have the final say regarding evil for all eternity. It is Jesus who rides the white horse, and bears the name KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Skeptics, atheists, and unbelievers of all sorts may not accord Jesus of Nazareth his proper place as the Son of God, but demons clearly understand the Lordship of our Savior. To evil spirits, Christ is no mere teacher, leader, or holy man. He is God and has all power over demonic forces.
Tomorrow, more on the demoniac of the Gadarenes.