Friday, February 19, 2010

Lesson of the Gerasene

My friend told me about Kelly's invitation to link a blog dedicated to ministering to people and encourage others. I hope encouragement and challenge can be synonymous because, well... this is what has been on my heart...

This morning with the Lord, I was reading about the demonic man in Gerasene.

Possessed by an evil spirit, he lived among the tombs in the hills. No one could bind him; he broke chains off his hands and irons off his feet. He cried out day and night, cutting himself with stones. When Jesus appeared on the scene he begged to be sent into a herd of 2,000 pigs.

That's a lot of pork, but the thing that surprised me is Jesus did it - He gave the demons what they wanted. What the heck!

And then, when all the people from town show up and see Jesus with the crazy guy who was "clothed in his right mind," they begged Jesus to leave their region! What is going on?

I asked the Lord, "OK, could you please explain this one to me?" I thought about the story...

The people must have tried to bind the crazy guy, and he couldn't be controlled so they gave up and let him live among the dead. Those same people are not even amazed that the crazy guy is all better. They're wanting Jesus to leave because they lost some livelihood, some income, some profit from drowned pigs (think about piggy banks, bringing home the bacon, what were those Israelites doing raising something that was unclean to them??? Didn't they want to be delivered from their own demons of greed, materialism, apathy, indifference?)

I thought... hmmm, do we do that God? When someone gets too difficult to minister to, too hard to control... do we leave that person among the dead? Do we forget about the suffering and spend our time and money on ourselves instead? Could Jesus really use demons to "drown" our preoccupations because we don't even recognize His miracles in people we've abandoned?

At the end of the story, the demon-possessed man wanted to go with Jesus, but he was commanded to stay behind and share how the Lord had mercy on him.

Question - Do I forget about the oppressed because it's difficult to TRULY help them? Is it easier to serve Jesus on my own terms and not enter into someone's suffering because it's ugly? Do I need God to use a demon to wake me up?

Please Father, remind me of your mercy.

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