1 Samuel 1-3 Luke 8:26-56
“All the people of the Gerasene country asked Jesus to leave, because they were all very afraid. So Jesus got into the boat and went back to Galilee.” (Luke 8:37)
He had terrorized the area for a long time. They couldn’t chain him, because the evil spirits living inside him gave him supernatural strength. He tore them open. The demons inside of him forced him out of town. He had torn his clothes off and roamed the country side, sleeping in burial caves. Then Jesus came. The demons knew they were done for and they begged Jesus to cast them into a sounder of pigs on a nearby hill…imagine being the swineherd for that sounder and working near this guy only to see the whole group jump in the water and drown. News got back to the village and people came out to check on the situation. What to their wondering eyes should appear but Jesus and village terrorist sitting down, negotiating travel plans. That, and their pigs were gone. Maybe they thought Jesus was in cahoots with their old nemesis. Maybe they thought that if the pigs were gone, they were next. Whatever the case, they didn’t want Jesus around and asked Him to leave – and He did.
This story has always horrified me. It isn’t the demoniac that scares me. He was a known quantity even before he was set free from the demons. As scary as he was, you knew to expect him to seek to terrorize the people. The horror comes from the common, everyday people who check out this story of a man who had been released from his demons and then don’t want anything to do with Jesus. The story doesn’t tell us that the townspeople were mad because of the economic loss. It says that they were afraid. Jesus had done through love what they couldn’t do through threats or chains: cure the demoniac. They recognized that Jesus has power that they couldn’t control, and they didn’t like it. One of the problems we have in our churches today is that we want to control what goes on. We want everything done “decently and in order” so much that we aren’t willing to allow for God to work outside the printed order of service. That would be “dangerous worship.” We want a tame God who’ll follow our plans in church and in our everyday lives. Gone are the days when we would seek God’s leadership as we prayed. Now our prayers are more likely to let God know our plans and give Him an opportunity to bless them. We’re scared that God might call us to do something crazy, and so we rarely take time to listen to Him. Today, open your calendar as you pray. Don’t ask God to bless your plans, though. Be dangerous. Ask God to set your agenda for the day and be obedient to that. He may not change your appointments, but He will open opportunities to minister to others while you work, if you listen to Him.
Lord, I lay my day out before You. Some of these things I think I need to do, but I’m willing to change them if you call me to change. All these items involve people who need Your love. Use me to show Your love and grace to the people I work with today.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.