Decapolis -- 10 pagan (hellenistic) cities around Sea of Galilee. Tradition states that they were pagans driven out by Joshua (he drove out seven nations - Joshua 3:10; Acts 13:19).
Numbers were important to Jewish culture. At the feeding of 5000, there were 12 baskets of leftovers, maybe symbolizing Jesus is the Bread of Life for the 12 tribes of Israel. At the feeding of 4000, seven baskets were leftover. Maybe symbolizing that Jesus is the bread of life for the seven pagan nations.
Decapolis was an unclean area. Worship of Beel-ze-bub (Baal). Worshipped pigs.
Jesus said, let's go across to Decapolis. Sea represented "abyss" (evil - the power of the devil). There were storms, thunder, and lightning. Structure of mountains around Sea cause sudden storms, but people then didn't understand that. Disciples might have thought, "no wonder there's a big storm, we're in the territory of the devil." But Jesus calmed it...showing power over evil. Even demons...even Baal obeys Christ! Then arrived in Decapolis and a possessed man came. Jesus cast demons into pigs (appropriate), showing his power even there! Jesus ready to leave (He had only come to heal one man!). Man wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus told the man to go tell people what Jesus had done for him. Other people there didn't want Jesus there, but man went back.
1. Like Jesus, find the power of evil and confront it. Jesus didn't wait until the storm died down...He went right through it.
2. When you come and live out your faith, you can expect people to resist you and want nothing to do with you!
Jesus told the man to simply go and tell others what Jesus had done for Him. This man was the only missionary in the area. Key to the confrontation of evil -- simply tell what God has done in your heart, life, and mind.
Matthew 15 - When Jesus came back to this area later, there were a whole bunch of people who wanted to see Jesus. Apparently the man was a good missionary! God calls us to be His people in a culture that doesn't hold his values.
Later in church history, that part of Decapolis was one of the strongest areas for Christianity (city of Corsi). Many saints came from that area and many influential events in church history happened there. All starting with this one man!
Source: Ray Vanderlaan, Faith Lessons, Vol. 4, Lesson 2