You know the story of the demon-possessed man that lived wild until Jesus cast his demons into a herd of pigs? Some things in that story stood out to me the other day when I was reading.
Just a quick run down refresher of the story. (If you’d like to read it for yourself, it’s found in Mark 5.) In the land of the Gerasenes there was this man who lived among the tombs screaming and hitting himself with stones. He couldn’t be restrained with chains and shackles, no one could control him. Jesus docks at the shore and this wild man comes racing to fall at his feet and the demons began shrieking. They knew their time was limited I guess. These spirits begged to be cast into the pigs nearby instead of into a distant place. Don’t you find it intriguing that the demons who were embodied in ONE man sent a herd of TWO THOUSAND pigs into the lake. By the time the people came rushing out of the city, this wild man was calmly sitting with Jesus, completely sane. The people of the land of the Gerasenes were afraid when they saw this wild man turned sane and they begged Jesus to leave immediately. Jesus got back into the boat and the wild man turned sane begged to go along with him. But Jesus told him “No, you go tell your friends what wonderful things the Lord has done for you and how merciful He has been.”
Do you think this guy even had friends? It appears to me that everyone was freaked out of their skin over this guy. Why do you think Jesus told him to go tell his friends? The other thing that stood out to me was the fact that even though he begged to stay in Jesus’ company, Jesus denied him that request. Why? Isn’t it a good thing to want to stay in Jesus’ presence? Does God push a person out of the nest like that? I mean you’d think that this guy was that much of a newbie that it would have been better for him to stay with Jesus right? How many times do I laze around in God’s presence soothing my conscience that I’m doing what’s good when really He’s pushing me to get out there and tell my friends how merciful my Jesus has been to me?
What about the things that Jesus wants to cast out of me? Do I beg Him to let them stay nearby in the herd of pigs rather than being cast to a distant place? I love how He says “sure” and promptly sends them into the lake when all along I thought I was gonna get to have them hanging around on the hillside nearby me.
The other thing I had to think about is the people’s response to the change in this man. The change itself – when Jesus gets a-hold of me is my change noticeable enough to scare people? Or do I come across as the same person as I was before Jesus invaded my life?
I don’t know about you but I want people to know that Jesus has changed me from a wild child into a sane person who scares people by the change that Jesus has accomplished in me.