The region had been terrorized by the presence of two demon-possessed men who were so fierce that nobody dared go near. True to form, when Christ encountered the men, the demons took notice of Him. At His command, the evil spirits left the men and entered a herd of pigs.
As amazing as that is, it’s what happened next that surprised me the most. Jesus had entered their area, freed the men (and the town) of the demons, yet the people reacted to these events in a very curious way. Listen to their response, “Behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw Him, they begged Him to leave their region” (Matt 8:34).
I would think that if Jesus showed up and improved a bad situation that much, people would beg Him to stay, not leave. Yet, they didn’t. Perhaps they were upset by the loss of the pigs – although that would have likely only been a concern for the animals’ owner. But, the text tells us that ALL the city begged Jesus to leave.
Since I wasn’t there, I can only speculate, but I wonder if the radical changes that came with Christ’s presence aren’t what upset the city. As bad as it had been, their “norm” was at least known and predictable to them. But, Jesus walked in and blew their known, predictable world apart. And even though the changes were good, they weren’t comfortable. So, they begged Jesus to leave.
Before I point a finger, I need to ask myself if I’m doing the same thing today. If Christ wants to be active in, and through, me – will I let Him? Or will I say “no” and ask Him to leave me alone? Am I choosing my known, predictable (if even troubled) norm, over allowing Him to work in my life? Are you? –Dave
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