Today’s Reading: Matthew 8:28-34
28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine.” 32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. 33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.
The Gadarenes: The city of Gadara was about six miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee. It was one of the Decapolis cities (cf. 4:25), and its population was predominantly Gentile. This non-Jewish setting is reinforced by the presence and herding of swine in 8:30, animals considered unclean by the Mosaic Law (Lev 11:7-8).
Into the sea: Jesus manifests divine power by his control over demons. In the OT, waters represent hostile forces (Ps 69:1-4) that are sometimes personified as beasts that rise out of the sea (Dan 7:1-3; cf. Rev 13:1). By driving the demon-possessed beasts back into the sea, Jesus symbolically demonstrates his triumph over the legions of Satan’s kingdom.