Which is More Frightening?

My wife shared with me some thoughts that came out of her personal devotions a few days ago. For my blog this week I want to share with you those thoughts from her journal:

Matthew 8:28-34 – When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” 30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” 32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

Which is more frightening: 1) Demon-possessed men who are so violent that no one can pass their way? or 2) Reconciling our hearts to a God so powerful that He frees those possessed men by speaking to the demons and casting them into a herd of pigs?

According to the people in the region of the Gadarenes, the latter is the scarier of the two. In Matthew 8:34, a whole town heard about Jesus freeing the possessed men (because those who had been tending the pigs ran to town to tell them)…and they PLEADED with Jesus to leave their region. They wanted him to go far, far away.

I often ask myself when I’m reading the Bible what I would do or how I would respond in the situations it outlines. In this case, I’d like to think that I would beg Jesus to come into town and heal every ailment and free every prisoner. But I also know that the fallout of that is that my life will be radically changed if He does. The people of this town became the caretakers of a TRUE story that is so fantastic that many might question their sanity.

Fast forward to today. Say the exact same situation happened and we’re the witnesses. Here are the questions that might be posed to us after the fact:

  • How do you know they were demon possessed? (Maybe they were just bad people.)
  • Did you actually hear Jesus talking to demons? What did the demons sound like?
  • Are you sure “demons” entered the pigs? (Maybe they were just startled by something.)

When Jesus walked this earth, He did fantastic miracles. The focus of this particular story should have been that Jesus healed two men who were out of their minds, but instead the focus for the townspeople was that Jesus did things that don’t make sense.

This is because miracles require faith: faith that believes even when the story doesn’t make sense in our logical minds and in the scientific world. God made science—He made the world with all it’s rules and scientific boundaries—but He is also outside of and greater than the world He created.

Prayer: Our Lord God, help us to pray for miracles, to believe the miracles we see, and to share the story of the many ways You are still freeing and healing people today. Let us beg for your movement, healing, and freedom and be frightened of a world without it.

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