Examining Our Priorities During an Economic Downturn

“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

I am always disturbed when I read the second sentence of this verse. Oh, the first sentence fits a common pattern in the ministry of Jesus. He performs a miracle and the crowds swarm to Him. But the second?This sentence records Him being asked to leave. Actually, an entire city is pleading with Him to go away, and go fast. Why?  What could this Man possibly have done to warrant this reaction?

Jesus and His disciples have come to the land of the Gadarenes. He is confronted by two men possessed by demons. In another synoptic account we learn the demons are named Legion, for they were many. They address Jesus by name and acknowledge they know their fate.  But they also know this is not the predetermined time of their judgement. They appeal to Him to allow them to enter a herd of swine, which Jesus does. The demons come out of the men, enter the swine, and run headlong into the water and drown. News travels of this exorcism and we come to verse thirty-four. Again, why is Jesus being asked to leave? Wouldn’t it seem rational that the people be glad to see these demon-possessed men healed?

Mark and Luke write, “They were afraid, seized with great fear.” Is their fear driven by the unknown, the unexplainable, or the unexpected? They have witnessed the lives of these men under the power of demons and now they were normal. Or is there something more significant, at least to them, at stake? Is it possible that a major part of the Gadarene economy just crashed? Have the people associated Jesus’ presence as too costly? If the swine market is wiped out today, will the fishing industry be gone tomorrow?

Do they see their bank accounts, homes, jobs, and livelihood at jeopardy with the presence of this man, Jesus?

Frankly, the Bible does not clearly tell us why.  Mainly because the narrative is not about the people and their reasoning.  The story isn’t about pigs, pig markets, or pig farmers. The author didn’t give us this account to strengthen our understanding of demons, and whether they prefer pigs before sheep.

The story is about Jesus.  The story is about Him and His priorities.  The story is about Jesus meeting the needs of two men.  It is about Jesus prioritizing the spiritual condition of these men, and compared with that, everything else is insignificant.

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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2 Responses to Examining Our Priorities During an Economic Downturn

  1. Pingback: Christian Blessings | Resting in His Grace

  2. ptl2010 says:

    Mtsweat Welcome to ChristianBlessings on this your first blog on ChristianBlessings. May the Lord inspire, anoint and use you to His glory here. May His blessings be also on your family as you continue to serve Him wherever He has assigned you.

    Today whereever miracles of healing and deliverance take place there are hindrances to growth of babes in Christ because scripturally the birds, the thorns and the stones will attempt to steal/strangle the word of life from/in them. We see this true in third world countries where the SEED and other such ministries move into communities predominantly of other different religions. These would persecute, ostracise and chase the spiritual new born babes out of their communities for fear of displeasing their gods and for fear of the unknown God.
    It happened in the 1950s when in Singapore there were many healing and deliverance campaigns. Many from the outlying Indonesian islands would come to Singapore from 7.30am by boats to be first in line for queues of sick and possessed to be prayed for beginning at 7.30pm lasting till way past midnight. Often families of the demon possessed would have sought deliverance from their old religions without success. Once deliverance took place they would return home to testify bravely about answers to prayer causing unsettling of faith among believers of their former religion, and displeasing the village elders. Then persecution and ostracising of new born babes would begin. At other times those demon possessed would have been ostracised and after deliverance they would be disheartened by non-acceptance or return to their community and they would revert to their old situation without ready local Christian support.
    It behoves the children of God to support in prayer not only the front-line evangelistic/deliverance efforts. We must include prayers for the follow up, after care and dicipleship training to maximise fruits from such endeavours. May we receive wisdom and discernment from the Lord how we accept and discharge our responsibilities towards those who are spiritually saved and healed not only in our midst, and include those in foreign lands too.

    Thank you for sharing a real concern mtsweat.

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