Then the whole of the region of Garasenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with a great fear.  And he got into the boat and returned.  Luke 8:37

Whom shall I fear?  Who would I just assume would leave me alone?  I fear the doctor for he may bring me bad news for which I have to change.  I fear my boss coming around for he may tell me to do something different.  I fear the teacher who has the power to say whether I have passed or failed.  There are many people in this life that I may fear and thus want to have as little contact with as possible.

Jesus comes to the region of Garasenes.  He does not come with an army and it seems from what is said in the bible, many don’t realize that He is even there.  However, there are some that are there.  And there is one who knows Jesus; or at least because of his circumstances, knows that the Son of God has come.  It is not sure if the other locals there heard him call Jesus the “Son of the Most High God.”, but even if they did hear him, they would have brushed it off.  For this man was a mad man; living naked, outside, among tombs.  Demon filled, we can imagine that most of what he said, up to this point, was full of hate, lies and treacherous sayings.  Jesus hears the demon possessed man and, the irony never escapes me that the demons are compelled to pronounce the truth of Jesus Christ, where man so often will not, commands the demons to be silent.   And here is where the story even turns more ironic, at least for me.  For my natural reaction, if I had the ultimate power that Jesus has, would be to cast the demons out to the worst place imaginable.  Yet Christ hears the demons frantic plea and He even grants it.  Christ’s concern is with the possessed man and if the demons want to go to a herd of swine, Christ allows it.  Seemingly being merciful.  The man is now cleansed, cured as it were and the swine rush down into the water to their death.

And the irony doesn’t stop there.  Scripture tells us, that the mad man was known in the area.  The people had tried to deal with them on their own, but had failed miserably each time.  Scripture also tells us there were a few locals who saw the whole interaction between Jesus and the mad man take place and they rushed off to spread the news.  So now, many come out to see for themselves what has happened.  And, upon seeing the results of Jesus being in their region, a man with whom they had so much trouble with for so long, is now sitting, clothed, no longer screaming obscenities and blasphemies, but talking in a normal way.  There is a dead herd of swine in the water.  Scripture does not tell us much about the swine.  Mark says that the men who witnessed the acts of Jesus were there to feed the swine, so we might assume that they were owned by someone.  It is interesting that the people who come out don’t seem to be angry about the swine, but they are in dreadful fear of Jesus because of what He did for the man.  And in their dread, the ask, no they beg Jesus to leave.

What is Jesus’ response to their request?  This is the Son of God, The Creator, with God from the Beginning, King of Kings!; He most certainly could have forced His way in.  Jesus honors their request and leaves.

What were they afraid of?  Could it be that their greatest fear concerned, if this man Jesus could change this horrible man who was so completely out or our control, what could He do to me?  A man with that kind of power can not be trusted?  I am nothing compared to this man and if I let him in what will become of me?

Think about what their fear caused them to miss out on.  Those who were sick, were not healed.  Those who were living in the darkness of Satan in this world, did not see the Light of Christ.  Those who were in anguish, did not have the Peace of Christ, preached to them (although Christ did command the healed man to go back and tell them his story).  No, their decision was; we are better off with what we know and are today, versus what me might learn and become if we let this man in.  And Jesus Christ never being the one to do to someone, that is against their will,  but always wanting to do with someone, that is along with their will and faith, acquiesces to their request and leaves.

Remember, the doctor may give us a good report.  The boss may want to tell us about the raise or promotion, the teacher the A.  Jesus Christ is all powerful.  He greatly desires to dwell with us.  And in dwelling with us, He will change us.  And it is true that, that kind of power is worthy of “fear.”

The question is what type of fear.  The type of fear that cries, depart from me, I don’t want to change; I’m good enough as I am?  Or the fear that says; Your power is so great, I am overwhelmed and in awe of it?  The latter fear allows me to still ask for a relationship.  A relationship built on the Love of and for Jesus Christ and Our Heavenly Father.  A relationship that is not only open to, but actively requests to be changed; improved.  Jesus Christ is willing to abide by both of those requests.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we ask that You would be with us and give us the strength to come to You.  Keep in us a righteous fear, stemming from the realization of Your Greatness, which will keep us humbly open to Your plans and guidance for us.  Thwart the demon who would have us turn from You in fear, to travel our own path alone.  Through the Light of Jesus Christ, change us; allowing us to become the creation You desire us to be.  That in our changes we would live a life of and that Praises Your Most Holy Name.  We pray in the name of He, who desires to be with us and not just do to us, Jesus Christ.  Amen

 

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