A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. (Luke 8:32-33)
Pigs can swim. Pig Beach, part of the Exuma islands in the Bahamas, is a destination for swimming with pigs. One tourist tells of swimming with up to 400-pound pigs that nip, look sun burnt, and have floating excrement. She suggested money would be better spent on other excursions.
Pigs are considered unclean among Jews. They don’t eat pork and would never own a pig, so the demoniac was clearly a gentile. Previously in Luke, Jesus served a gentile centurion by saving his friend who was Jewish, but in this scripture, Jesus showed his disciples that gentiles as well as Jews were worthy to be saved.
After reading these verses, my first thought was why would Jesus kill the pigs and destroy the livelihood of the Garasenes? After a closer look, Jesus didn’t do that. He gave permission to the demons to enter the pigs instead of going to the Abyss. It was the demons who drove the pigs so insane they swam to the bottom of the ocean to kill themselves. Yes, Jesus knew the pigs would die as he knows Satan causes havoc in the world. But God has a purpose and havoc knocks us to our knees. And ironically, perhaps the demons ended up in the Abyss via springs located underneath the lake of Galilee.
Lord, since you feel demoniacs are worth saving, I know you feel I’m worth saving, too. Thank you for your love and mercy. Please send any demon attacking me, my family, my readers, or my friends, into the Abyss. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.