Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My 2011 Assignment...Pilgrimage Begins #2...

I continue to explore the application of Jesus' words to a newly healed man,
Luke 8: 39a  "Return home and tell how much God has done for you."
Day 1 had some of my thoughts about the man from whom a "legion" of demons had been cast.

I turn now to others who witnessed this man's exorcism and reported it to the neighboring townsfolk who most likely were their family and friends.
Luke 8: 34-35a  When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened.
What these people had heard and seen was this:
  • Jesus arrived by boat from Galilee 
  • as soon as he stepped ashore, he was met by the demon possessed man
  • The demonic fell at Jesus' feet shouting "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
  • Jesus commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man.
  • The evil spirit had often seized the man though he was chained hand and foot
  • The demoniac was kept under guard but had broken his chains and been driven by the demon into solitary places
  • The man told Jesus his name was "Legion" because many demons had gone into him.
  • The demons begged Jesus not to order them to go into the Abyss
  • The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside
  • Jesus gave the demons permission to go into the pigs and they did.
  • The herd of pigs rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
At this point, those who witnessed the interaction between Jesus, the man possessed by demons and the demons, "ran off and reported this in the town and countryside".

And those who heard the story came looking for Jesus.
  • They found Jesus and
  • found the man from whom demons had been cast,
  • who was sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind.  
What was the response of the people who flocked to see this amazing thing?
  1. Were they thrilled to find this man healed?  
  2. Did they rejoice to see him clothed and in his right mind?  
  3. Was this man welcomed back into the community and offered a place to live?  
  4. Were they grateful that they no longer needed to be cautious or caution their children about this wild and dangerous man?  
  5. Did they open their homes for a meal or overnight stay?
No, they were afraid!!!

The eye witnesses told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured.
  • Then all the people of the region asked Jesus to leave them because they were overcome with fear.
All the people were overcome with fear!!!

How unfortunate that these people allowed fear to overtake them so that they asked the great healer, helper, restorer, redeemer to leave their region.  They failed to see how much God had done for one man and thereby were not willing to have their eyes opened to what he might do for them or for others with great needs.  
  • Fear can be 
    • irrational 
    • blinding 
    • personally limiting
    • heartless
    • selfish
    • lots of things  
And so, out of their great fear,  they asked Jesus to leave them -
  • So he got into the boat and left.
Was it that a legion of pigs was of greater value than one deranged and possessed man?  Were they ashamed of being considered powerless to help this man sooner without Jesus' intervention? 

But their fear was real and they felt action needed to be taken immediately so Jesus was asked to leave.  He must be the problem.  Get rid of him and fear will cease.

How unfortunate that these people did not see Jesus as an answer to fear and not the cause of it.  Certainly there was one man who knew that Jesus was the answer to human fear.  One man whose life had been radically changed  
  • from a life of constant fear to a life of freedom from fear.   
The truth of this story remains for our time.  Jesus can take what causes constant fear and he can provide freedom from that fear when we "cry out and fall at his feet" as the demonic did.  Jesus heard that man's shouted prayer and knew this man recognized him as the one who could  take what had consumed and ruined his life and remove it from him with the result being healing, wholeness, gentleness and hunger for Truth.  And in that state of mind, this man would become a powerful and winsome witness as he began to respond to Jesus' request of him to:

"Return home and tell how much God has done for you."

Will I be one who is overtaken by fear when God does something huge in my life or in the life of a family member, friend or acquaintance or will I sit at Jesus' feet and allow his words to instruct and equip me in order that I might hear Jesus' request of me:

"Return home and tell how much God has done for you."

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