Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Matthew 8:30-34 “Great. You can command demons. Get out.”

I used to like Rodney Dangerfield. Well, “like” is probably a little too strong of a word, but I always thought he was pretty funny. Of course, his signature line was “I don’t get no respect.” You might apply that to this situation here as well. Christ performs a mighty miracle and instead of being worshipped and praised, He is treated rudely and told to leave.

Remember, He has come to this area known as the Gedarenes (or Gerasenes) and met these two demon possessed men. These men have been driven from society, living among the tombs, and are violent. The demons inside these poor, tormented individuals know who Christ is, probably even better than His disciples do. So the stage is set—it’s like a spiritual gun fight at the OK Corral. All that’s left is for someone to yell “Draw!”

Of course, these demons know that in a fight with the Holy One of God they’re going to lose. He has the power over heaven and earth and they know it. Therefore, they try to negotiate—“If You are going to cast us out, send us into the heard of swine”—the swine that were feeding near a cliff not too far from Jesus and these men. They just wanted to destroy something, most likely, and if they couldn’t continue to torment these poor fellows, since Jesus was there to deliver them, they might as well cause some kind of destruction and the pigs looked like as good an opportunity as any.

Now, notice that it was the demons who asked to enter the pigs—not Christ who commanded that they leave the men and go to the pigs. Christ, being the Sovereign Lord of creation, could have destroyed them right there. He could have commanded that they leave the area. In His providence, however, He permitted them to enter, and then destroy, these pigs. The most interesting part of this scene, however, is not the death of all these pigs (which would have been SO tasty after having been cooked over an open flame with some good barbeque sauce—sorry) but rather the reaction of the townspeople.

The Greek word translated "rushed" can also be traslated "danced".  Ok, that's not really true.

The owners of the livestock ran off to tell everyone what had happened. Notice, as we see in verse 33, they didn’t just tell them what happened to all that lovely pork, err, I mean those poor pigs, they also reported “what had happened to the demoniancs”. So, the people now knew that Jesus had the power to free people who were possessed with demons and had authority over those demons. Instead of a reaction of praise for One who had such power and reverence for His authority, the people asked Him to leave. Here is a Man Who can command demons to leave, demonstrating supernatural authority that must come from God and instead of falling on their face and calling Him “Lord” they show Him the door.

Are we any different though? Do we refuse to obey God and serve Him whole-heartedly when He calls? There are times where we most certainly do. The same Man who healed these two demoniacs is alive today, seated at the throne of God on the right hand. Let us not demonstrate the same disobedient lack of faith we see in these towns people, but let us demonstrate true, saving faith by our obedience to the Lord who saved us from our sins.

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