This morning's Sunday School lesson...

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Puritan Board Freshman
The lesson this morning was about the man with the legion of demons in him (specifically from Mark 5:1-20). Our book divides each lesson into three sections, and we were so engrossed in discussion, we didn't even get past the first section (verses 1-13). There was a question that arose about why the pigs ran off the cliff. I was wondering what you guys thought. None of the footnotes in my ESV Student Study Bible even talk about the possibility of why the pigs ran off the cliff.

I promised the Sunday School class I would run this across you guys, see what you thought, and present it to them next Sunday and we'd try to finish the lesson then.

Your input is greatly appreciated.


Puritanboard Commissioner
For trustworthy biblical commentary, one can go to John Calvin's
or Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Mark 5:13

VII. The permission Christ gave them to enter into the swine, and the immediate destruction of the swine thereby; He gave them leave (v. 13), he did not forbid or restrain them, he let them do as they had a mind. Thus he would let the Gadarenes see what powerful spiteful enemies devils are, that they might thereby be induced to make him their Friend, who alone was able to control and conquer them, and had made it appear that he was so. Immediately the unclean spirits entered into the swine, which by the law were unclean creatures, and naturally love to wallow in the mire, the fittest place for them. Those that, like the swine, delight in the mire of sensual lusts, are fit habitations for Satan, and are, like Babylon, the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird (Rev. xviii. 2), as pure souls are habitations of the Holy Spirit. The consequence of the devils entering into the swine, was, that they all ran mad presently, and ran headlong into the adjoining sea, where they were all drowned, to the number of two thousand. The man they possessed did only cut himself, for God had said, He is in your hands, only save his life. But thereby it appeared, that, if he had not been so restrained, the poor man would have drowned himself. See how much we are indebted to the providence of God, and the ministration of good angels, for our preservation from malignant spirits.

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Much to consider from the great Matthew Henry, but I'd say simply this:

Demons are destructive and chaotic. They had destroyed and confused the life of the man they possessed, and when they entered the pigs they destroyed them too. That's what demons do. In contrast, Jesus is restorative. He brings sanity and healing and peace. Not to mention that he is also stronger than the demons and makes them tremble.

GulfCoast Presbyterian

Puritan Board Junior
See Jack K's comments above. Also, it seems to me that to the extent Jesus allowed the swine to run off the cliff, this would have surely been definitive "visual proof" to the man that the "legion" of demons which had tormented him were totally destroyed, providing him reassurance. And to those that saw, a powerful demonstration of Christ's power over the demons.
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