They Begged Him to Leave

Matthew 8:28-39 is one of the scariest Bible passages, but not in the way you might think.

Matthew 8:28-39
[28] When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area.[29] They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time? [30] There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. [31] So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”[32] “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water. [33] The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. [34] Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.

Think about what has happened in this story. Some extremely strong, demon-possessed men terrorize a whole region. Jesus casts out the demons, thus liberating the region from their tyranny. What is the local town’s response? They begged him to go away and leave them alone.

Jesus’ display of power and mastery over the demons was a good thing (it freed the region from tyranny)! And yet, for the town, it was terrifying. Why? Because it demonstrates that Jesus is Lord, not me. He controls this world, not me. And losing perceived control over my life is always a scary prospect.

But Jesus is a good King, who ultimately gave up His power and prestige to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-11). A death which would reconcile me back to God. After believing in Jesus, He works His power on our behalf, even though it comes in unexpected ways.

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