Matthew 8:28-34 (CEB): When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake in the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed came from among the tombs to meet him. They were so violent that nobody could travel on that road. They cried out, “What are you going to do with us, Son of God? Have you come to torture us before the time of judgment?” Far off in the distance a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons pleaded with him, “If you throw us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
Then he said to the demons, “Go away,” and they came out and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned. Those who tended the pigs ran into the city and told everything that had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole city came out and met Jesus. When they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
I’m drawn to the last two sentences, ‘Then the whole city came out and met Jesus. When they say him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.’ it seems that whenever Jesus shows us, people have this reaction. At first, they stream in to see Jesus. But, once they see him and what he’s done (and what he’s capable of doing and willing to do), they ‘plead with him to leave their region’. I think this reflects a lot on us as humans who are ‘sin addicts’. We are excited about being free, but when we see what’s entailed, that is, when we see that Jesus will not allow us to continue as we were before, we don’t want anything to do with it. This scene reminds me a lot of the show ‘Intervention’. The addict, at some point, wants to be free. But, when confronted with what that means, they don’t want anything to do with it.
So, the question that comes rushing to the fore is, ‘Why are we rejecting Christ and his Grace, Love, and Mercy?’ Is it because we are at a place where we are not ready to give up everything to follow him? Do we want to keep on doing what we want to do (whatever that may be) and just have Christ bless our sin (which won’t happen)? When we have to choose between a life that we (supposedly) control or a life controlled by Christ, too often we choose the former life (if one can really call it a life). It’s like we come rushing to see what Christ has done, indeed, can do, but then, when we see that it will cost us everything, we plead for him to go away.
But here’s the kicker, once we have visited Christ, we will never be the same. Even if we decide to reject him at that moment, we won’t be able to get that encounter with him out of our minds and hearts. The peace and freedom will ever be beckoning for us to come. The Love of Christ will be compelling us to come. ‘The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let the one who hears say, “Come!” And let the one who is thirsty come’ (Revelation 22.17 CEB)!
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br Jack+, LC