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Jesus sets the man free, the demons destroy the pigs.
The locals make it clear they would rather have the pigs than Jesus.
Like many who will not embrace Jesus today because of the disturbance He will inevitably bring–when He takes control of their lives.
Even though He brings the answer to their impossible problems.
How important is one person to Jesus? This account of a demon possessed man (men) leaves no doubt of the importance God places on each of us. Many of the accounts of the healings, casting out of evil spirits, and miracles recorded in Scripture, are about those who came to Jesus, who called out to Him as He passed by.
Not this one. It is clear this trip to the “other side” of the lake (Mark 4:35) is intentional on Jesus part, initiating an encounter with someone in desperate need. When He arrives, the man spotting Jesus from a distance runs to Jesus not away from Him.
It is clear that the man even in his terrible state recognizes Jesus and His authority. Having been subjected to torture for many years by the demonic host dwelling in him, he asks Jesus, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me.” The demons also recognize His authority to do with them as He desires. They express a desire to not be driven from the area (although not the man) , and to be allowed to dwell in a large herd of pigs nearby. Jesus gives permission to do so and quickly their new home is destroyed as the pigs rush into the water and drown.
There is a story behind the story that I believe is most important. It is not so much about the demons and pigs, but more about the man possessed by demons, and the people of his town.
I believe on that day Jesus came to visit both. And He received very different reactions from them. The man free from torment he likely was subjected to for many years is now dressed, and in his right mind. He begs to go with Jesus. The townspeople on the other hand are frightened by what has occurred and in no small way upset by the destruction of their livelihood and “plead with Jesus to leave their region”.
Imagine what your reaction might be if you had just provided the answer and solution to your neighborhoods “neighbor from hell”. Instead of a thank you and an invite as a guest of honor to the next neighborhood party, you are asked to please pack up and move away. After receiving His invitation to vacate the area, Jesus reaction is quite different than ours might be. Before getting in the boat to leave Jesus tells the man, “You can’t go with me but, go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
There are several things we can take away from this story that help us to have the right perspective concerning how our Lord works in us and through us. All of us who follow Christ, and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior, experienced that day when He went out of His way to visit us. All of our stories though maybe not as extreme as this man tormented by demons, are the same. We were in desperate need of help, a Savior.
The inclination after our encounter as it was with this man, is to get in the boat and sail away with Him. But Jesus would have us go and tell those who do not want the disturbance what asking Him to stay will bring, that He is the answer to their impossible problems.
This is so important in our day of mega-churchs, isolation, and diminished community outreach our neighbors around us. We can be so busy with church we can forget those who are next door.
Is one important? Absolutely and the impact of one changed life is critical in reaching a world in need. We have to be that one who will stay and tellbthemtell them