“And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.” Matthew 8:34
Hang on … did I just read that right?
Can you believe it? Why were these people upset? Guess I should go back a few paragraphs and read the whole story of what had happened.
Let me get this straight, Jesus had just delivered 2 men of demons. That’s a GOOD thing, isn’t it? But when the people in town heard about it, they weren’t pleased at all. They begged Jesus to leave the region.
The true power of God is to the world only fearful. They would rather their mundane lives than Divine intervention.
John 3:19 says, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
A report had been brought into town by the keepers of the herd of pigs about what Jesus had done, and they were not pleased. You see, as far as they were concerned they had this little situation with the demoniacs “under control”. They were outside the town in the cemetery. Out of sight, out of mind.
We can tolerate a lot of junk – a lot of sin – as long as we can compartmentalize it, and keep it out of the limelight.
The 2 guys were scary, but as long as they stayed in the cemetery they really weren’t too much of a bother to the townfolk’s nice comfortable lives. And I wonder if they didn’t serve a purpose for them also? Remember some years later when Paul came to Philippi (Acts 16). He delivered a slave girl of demons, and her master got very upset about it. He had made a nice income from her telling fortunes. When she stopped hearing the voices, he stopped getting paid! Maybe there was something similar going on with these 2 guys Jesus delivered; was someone profiting from their condition?
What’s more, when Jesus cast out the demons, they fled into a herd of pigs who promptly ran off a cliff into the sea. Not only did Jesus upset the status quo, he also cost the town a whole lot of bacon!
P.P. Levertoff, commenting on this story, said, “All down the ages the world has been refusing Jesus because it prefers it’s pigs.”
The point is, Jesus had a habit of upsetting the applecart. (Didn’t He do that in your life when He came in and saved you?) Everywhere Jesus went He never quite gave the answers that people wanted to hear.
The pharisees sure didn’t appreciate Him.
What about the Temple moneychangers in Jerusalem? They had not one but two major run-ins with Him, when He turned their tables over. Gentle Jesus, meek and mild … ha! He drove those guys out with a whip!
He doesn’t seem to always respond like we think He should. He just won’t stay in the boxes we put Him in.
One day very soon, the Bible says that a “multitude” (greek word = poloi) will call Him “Lord, Lord”. They know all the right words. And they’ll appeal to all the things they did for Him; “We prophesied, we cast out devils, we did wonders in your Name”, and He will say to them, “I never knew you. Depart from Me.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Lord, that’s not very reasonable! Come on now, be the Sport we always figured you for! But they will find themselves not stood before the Jesus of their imagination any longer, but the REAL Jesus. Eyes of flashing fire, before Whose face the heavens and earth flee away. “You tried to figure out YOUR way, but it wasn’t MY way of absolute surrender, repentance, obedience and faith. You never sought Me as your everything.”
It’s true that Jesus does wonderful things, and He teaches glorious truth. But, very often people’s assumptions about how He will respond prove to be incorrect.
The Church prays for God to come and move in power – to bring revival. But do we really want God to move? I wonder.
If God rends the heavens and comes down, we can be sure it will be very different than we all expected. The history of revival shows it always is. When I say “different”, I’m not talking about wierd manifestations and all the nonsense that gets passed off as “revival” these days. I’m talking about the confrontation of our sins. LISTEN, HE WILL NOT LEAVE OUR DEMONS UNDISTURBED. Not that Christians can be demonized, but our SINS … the hidden things that we have “compartmentalized” and tried to keep away from the light. He’ll overturn every rock.
I believe many a Christian has sincerely prayed for revival, but it never really got started because when the Lord has heard their prayer and begun putting the spotlight on things that need to be repented of and dealt with, they quickly want to scurry back in to the dark. End of revival.
Revival will cost you all your pigs and demons. There simply is no “taming Jesus”, so that He brings us all the niceties of His presence without any of the demands. Our God is a consuming fire. This is the Savior with Whom we have to deal. If He comes, He will change everything. Are you ready for that? The alternative, though, is tragic.