Disturber of (false)Peace

“When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.  “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.” Matthew 8: 28- 34

I was reading in the book of Matthew this morning and this story of Jesus saving two-demon possessed men seems packed with so many great lessons for us today. We are often much like the town’s people who beg for Jesus to go away when He helps the “other” in society.  Jesus, just did something amazing. He restored the lives of two men who, I’m sure because of their demon possessed status, had been shunned, forgotten, ridiculed by the rest of the community. 

Yet, instead of celebrating that these two men had been healed and given a second chance at life, the town’s people were much more concerned about the fact that Jesus was disrupting their way of life. Jesus had just thrown someone’s livelihood over a cliff to perish. Jesus, by doing the “right” and “good” thing, obviously had negative economic consequences.

The town’s people wanted nothing to do with that kind of rightness and goodness.  It was too disruptive to their way of life. It rocked their “comfortable” boat. 

One takeaway: The right and good things that Jesus does will often challenge our perspectives and bring us to a crossroads. We can either join Him on this quest to radically love and care for the “other” (even if it puts our comfortable life in jeopardy) or we can beg Him to leave so we can continue living under the illusion of security and safety.

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