Those who had seen it told the others what had happened to the demon-possessed man and the pigs. At first they were in awe - and then they were upset, upset over the drowned pigs. They demanded that Jesus leave and not come back.
- Mark 5:16-17, The Message
Here is the story of the madman who was demon possessed. Jesus just got done casting the demons out of the man and into some nearby pigs. I find the above part of the story very fascinating. This little snippet and many others like it make the bible so down to earth, literally coming down to earth and meeting us in the mess of a people that we are.
Can you imagine giving a response like that one above? Demons are literally gone from a man and then there are pigs jumping off cliffs. Pretty exciting to say the least. Powerful. Yet, some of the first traceable advocates of anti-animal cruelty are documented here.
I can imagine a scene today. Jesus enters into a church and knows that there are a few in the congregation who are hungry and barely have any food. They would likely be going home hungry that day. Jesus then has compassion and fills the alter with food and asks those who need it to come and take what they need and more. The congregation is amazed by this and are in awe, but become displeased once they realize that their potluck after the service is ruined because it will be mostly empty.
This isn't a perfect comparison but an element remains the same. Jesus destroys something so that something can be saved. What He destroys is the concept that a Sunday afternoon brunch can be so important in our life, even convincing some that this exhausts fellowship and meeting the needs of the congregation. Of course, instead, we are offered the Acts 2 church that made sure everyone went without need and shared resources. So while the Sunday potluck is nice and is a start, it is of little value in the long run. In comparison, the pigs act as sources of economic value for those who were tending them, but the madman has a greater value placed in him by God then pigs as economic resources.
After all of that, the people still did not realize what was important, even though the madman could barely contain his enthusiasm for Christ, confessing how good God is.