I was reading the story in the gospel accounts recently about the Gerasene demoniac that Jesus healed.
Here’s this man who has been in physical and spiritual bondage for quite some time.
- He is hurting.
- He is violent.
- He lives in the graveyard.
- He spends his days and nights acting insane.
“Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones.” Mark 5:5 (NASB)
No one can subdue him.
They have tried.
They have used shackles and chains, but he is so strong that he breaks them every time, and the demons drive him into the desert.
The people in the surrounding countryside can’t even pass that way for fear of his violent outbursts.
He is so possessed with the demons that when he sees Jesus, he does not come begging for help or for mercy. Rather, the demons recognize Jesus from a distance, and cause the man to run up and bow down before Him, as the demons shout, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”
But Jesus has compassion on the man and casts out the demons.
They beg Him to allow them to enter a herd of swine, and when He gives His permission, they drive the pigs down a steep hill to their death in the sea.
Enter the people of the region.
I do not understand their reaction.
They see the demoniac sitting there clothed properly (which he was not before), and completely in his right mind.
- He is no longer insane.
- No longer tormented.
- No longer cutting himself with stones.
- No longer in bondage.
There is no mention of even one of them showing a smidgen of compassion or acting glad to see that he is healed.
No one seems to make the connection that if Jesus could heal this man, surely He could heal their loved ones as well. (Up to this point, multitudes have made this connection and followed Him for healing. But not this group.)
Instead they beg Jesus to leave.
I know I’ve heard some explain that since the pigs were their livelihood their motivation was material.
But Luke says they were gripped with fear.
It doesn’t say they are angry about the pigs.
They definitely made the connection that Jesus had a power greater than that of the demons.
So, I wonder:
- Did they recognize that He must be God, or at least a powerful prophet of God?
- Were they afraid because they recognized that they were living in rebellion against God, and they had no intention of changing, and therefore they were afraid that Jesus would bring the judgment of God on them?
- Or were they just fearful of anything or anyone they could not control?
At any rate, even though Jesus had just done something totally amazing, they did not want Him to stay there.
THEY DID NOT WANT TO SEE JESUS!
They did not want His power, nor His mercy, nor His compassion.
Fear blinded them.
Fear kept them from experiencing God’s love and mercy and grace.
But what about us?
Do we want to see Jesus?
- Do we say we want to see Him, but then we hope He is not looking when we do or say something we shouldn’t?
- Or does the fear that He hasn’t really forgiven us for something in our past paralyze us so we fail to move forward in a direction that we believe that He has called us to go?
- Do we try to hide from Him like Adam and Eve did in the garden?
- Do we subconsciously wish we could control God?
Or do we really want to see Him, which requires:
- Daily coming clean with Him,
- seeking His mercy and compassion,
- seeking His will in His Word, and then
- DOING it.
I want to see Jesus, don’t you?
I want daily to receive His mercy and compassion.
I want Him to heal my hurts.
I want Him to set me free from that which tries to bind me including fear which tries to blind me.
What will we need to surrender to Him to clear the way?
Will we give Him permission to set us free?
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