July 12, 2022
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 down 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 into 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 back again.
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.
Quite frankly, I have never understood verse 37 – that the Gadarenes were then afraid and sent Jesus away. What were they afraid of? I thought, this morning, “I’m going to get both my resources and finally get an answer to this question!” Guess what? Neither the St. Ignatius Catholic Bible Study nor the King James Study Bible address verse 37! Maybe those brilliant scholars couldn’t figure it out, either.
I came to the conclusion that as the swine must have been an income source (not to the Jews, of course), they feared Jesus would destroy all their marketability and the whole Gadarene economy would crash. Then I wonder why, if my supposition is correct, they’d be more afraid of poverty than awed at the wonder of Jesus and His works? We can tell, from verses 27 and 29, which is a short history of the man plagued by devils, that the man was known in this country; he must have been the topic of conversation more than once in this place and yet, having seen the healing of this man, they are afraid of Jesus? Wouldn’t common sense cause them to kneel and worship the Person who could do such a healing? I know it’s wrong to give 21st century understandings to situations two thousand years old but the fact remains – people today aren’t that different from people who walked the world in the time that Jesus did.
So … tell me what YOU think verse 37 is about? How have you reconciled in your thoughts what the Gadarenes were afraid of?