Friday, January 23, 2015

Not all were excited.

"When (Jesus) came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him.  They were so fierce that no one could pass that way."
(Matthew 8:28)

As Jesus was passing through a particular area (Gadarenes or Gerasenes), he was stopped by two men not in their right mind.  Matthew tells us they were "demoniacs" - possessed by demons (though in the New Testament, many ailments were attributed to demon possession).  Whatever the case, they made it impossible for any travelers to pass their way.

Can you imagine the inconvenience (not to mention fear) that put into the lives of all who lived in that area?  Travel had to be redirected.  Commerce couldn't move through.  People would be afraid of being in the same vicinity of these two "fierce" men - never quite knowing what they might do.

When they met Jesus, he healed them completely.  He cast out the demons and restored them to their right minds.  What a momentous day in the lives of those two men - and in the lives of all in that region!  Unfortunately, the aftermath of the cleansing saw an entire heard of swine that was drowned in the sea (the demons had moved from the two men into the pigs, and they went on a suicide mission).  When word of the economic disaster spread, people panicked.  "Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood" (v.34).

Wow.  I did not see that coming.  Why beg him to leave?  Didn't they see the new life & healing Jesus brought to those 2 men?  Couldn't they envision more healing & new life in their own lives & community?  Or was the lure of wealth (or, in this case, the LOSS of wealth) the ultimate deciding factor?  How short-sighted.  There is much more to this life than money.

There will always be nay-sayers and "haters."  Especially when the power of God begins to change lives.  It disrupts the comfortable ways we've come to have our own routines.  May we have the courage to throw our support to the ones who have been touched by Jesus - and not let our desire for financial security hold us back.

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