What does Mark 5:14 mean?Jesus and the disciples have traveled across the Sea of Galilee to the eastern shore—the southwest portion of our modern-day Golan Heights. Jesus has expelled a legion of demons from a tormented man who lives in the tombs in the hillside. The demons enter a large herd of pigs and incite them to run down the hill to the sea, where they drown. The herdsmen are shocked: pigs don't naturally stampede, and they can swim.
The city the herdsmen flee to is probably the village of Gergesa, the capital of Gerasenes in the area of Decapolis. The larger city of Gadara is about seven to fifteen miles away, depending on where exactly the event occurs. It's likely that the herdsmen don't own the pigs, and part of their urgency is to notify the pigs' owners and bring them to Jesus as proof they aren't negligent.
In accounts of other miracles, the news of Jesus' ability to heal and expel demons quickly spreads despite His requests the events remain quiet (Mark 1:43–45; 5:43). Here, in a Gentile land that has no concept of the expected Messiah, the witnesses are more alarmed than pleased. Instead of swarming Jesus, seeking His teaching or healing, (Mark 3:7–10; 4:1; 5:21), they drive Him out in fear (Mark 5:17).
We see those same two reactions among the ways in which people respond to God in the modern world. Some are primarily concerned with worldly or material things, or entertainment, or want to use God for their own purposes, and some want Him to leave them alone, afraid of what He will do next. Those who sincerely seek God, or have been healed (Mark 5:18) know to trust God and yearn to be in His presence.