As I've been preparing through the week for this Sunday I find myself pondering the fate of the pigs in Luke 8. Typically the explanation usually offered is connected with Jewish dietary laws and the fact that pigs are unclean animals and that they represent a suitable host therefore for unclean spirits.
That aside, I still wonder about the significance of what happened. Then it struck me as I thought about this, what does this all mean for the man who had been under the influence of all these spirits or the singular powerful spirit called "Legion"?
He was humiliated, isolated, feared and tormented. And all that for a long time. Matthew talks about two men who are so ferocious that no one dare pass that way. What a state to be in. The torment through which this man went was so intense that when the evil spirits entered the heard of pigs, the pigs went wild and ran down the bank into the lake and drowned.
Perhaps the significance of the pigs is in their demonstration of the power of the evil spirits that had ruled this man's life.
And Jesus set him free. Jesus broke that powerful hold on his life. The wild man became the calm man. Let's not forget that this story is about the power of Jesus to transform lives radically and not primarily about a herd of pigs.