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…
On landing, after a night of storm, our Lord was met by one who was scarcely human. The contrast between the rugged shore and the calm sea was not so striking as that between the wild demoniac and the calm and peaceful Son of God. This was a meeting of the representatives of two different kingdoms, the kingdom of darkness and that of light — of hate and of love; of misery and of peace. The Gadarene knew who Jesus was, yet, full of terror, he cried, "What have I to do with Thee?" and implored Him to depart. But the Lord had to do with him, and would not therefore depart, but commanded the demons to depart, and they did so; and then the wild man came to his right mind, and sat clothed at the feet of his Deliverer, meek and calm as a wearied child.
1. We have in this man's history a most instructive evidence of the capacity of an immortal being to sink into the depths of sin and misery. What was essentially wrong in this man? It was his wrong mind. He was delivered from that by being brought to his right mind.
2. Look at the meeting of the demoniac with the Saviour. It was verily a crisis in the sad life of this miserable man. The inner conflict in this man's spirit on meeting Jesus represents the struggle in many a heart, during a similar crisis in its history.
3. Observe the effects of this great act of love on the hitherto miserable demoniac. What outward force failed to accomplish, inward principle effected. His outward physical condition was the effect and sign of his inward reformation. Such will be the results, more or less, in every case where a soul is truly brought to the knowledge and love of God in Jesus Christ. Terror will give place to love.
4. Notice, further, that when Jesus cast out the demon, the Gadarene prayed that he might be allowed to follow Him. This prayer offered up by a true disciple was the only one, connected with the incident, which Jesus did not answer in the way requested. The demons prayed that they might be permitted to enter the herd of swine, and their prayer was granted. The Gadarenes prayed that Jesus would depart out of their coasts, and their prayer was also granted. Some prayers may be answered in judgment, and some refused in mercy.
5. But why did this man ask to be allowed to follow Jesus?
(1) It may have been personal love; or(2) it may have arisen from a trembling fear lest the dreadful demons of the olden time should return with the departure of Jesus; or(3) his prayer may have been offered from shame for his countrymen, who had asked the Lord of life and of peace to leave their coasts. But the worse the people were, the more they needed a missionary. And what a missionary this man would be!
(Norman Macleod, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.