Some people quote that story and tell me that’s why they choose not eat pork. The pig farmers and the community members heard about what Jesus did and came out to meet him. They unilaterally decide that Jesus is not welcome in that part of the country. Who knows maybe they are the ones who started the whole no-pork-movement (jokes).
If we look at Mark 6:15 “When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons sitting there, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it described what had happened to the demon-possessed man and also to the pigs. 17And the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.…” But let’s do the maths, there were about 2000 pigs lost on that day, possibly the whole town’s pig supply. Say one piglet cost as much then as it does now, R650, then assuming that the 2000 pigs were valued at that much, then that community lost R1.3 million in just one day. And if you love pork like I do, then just the fact that your pigs drowned and Jesus was responsible would really make you ask Jesus to leave your part of the country for a while, just until you were ok with the whole thing.
I think that Jesus was showing us something else here. I think he was showing us the value of one soul. Jesus suffered the legion of demons to destroy R1.3 million worth of livestock for one soul. Jesus sacrificed 2000 pigs that could have fed a whole town for months or years for the worst kind of soul, one possessed by evil spirits, one that lived in solitary, in the graveyards, one that could not be tied down, a physically strong self-mutilator. Jesus was showing us how much he loves even the least of us, the one everyone has given up on and cast out into the wilderness. I wish we could change our minds about the meaning of that passage in the bible, and rather see that Jesus is willing to suffer rejection and great loss so that we are made whole.
My Peace I give you - Shalom