I've just been reading my Bible. I'm in Matthew 8. I may be stuck here for a while. There's so much. Even as even as a wanna be writer, this chapter blows me away. So much is said with so few words. Amazing!
If you're not a Christian, please know you're welcome to read my journey with Jesus, but I'm not writing to manipulate you. This is for me.
What struck me just now is the story about the 2 demon possessed men. They were so incredibly violent that no one could go by them on the road. They caused literally everyone to detour - and you know how we all love detours. They hung out in a graveyard. That seems fitting. Who wants to walk by a graveyard anyway? Yet here comes Jesus.
First, he's apparently unafraid. It's not said, but pretty obvious. The demons recognize his authority and know they're toast. So they beg to be thrown into a large herd of pigs.
This is interesting.
Yet Jesus said "Go!" and there were so many demons in those two human bodies that, when transferred to the pigs, the whole dang herd ran off a cliff into the sea and died.
I always chuckle at a memory when I read this story. I grew up in a very large country club type of church in the South. I vividly remember my 6th grade Sunday School teacher saying that people weren't very knowledgable back then and that demons were just germs. Even as a 12 year old this made no sense whatsoever to me. How did those germs fly suddenly out of two "mentally ill" men and chase a herd of pigs - a very large herd - off a cliff?
And what made a "mentally ill" and very violent person recognize the authority of Jesus like that when they attacked anyone else? It's just kind of funny somehow.
And even if you go with the germ theory, everything in the chapter before that story tells how Jesus miraculously healed every kind of disease - even those truly caused by germs and viruses - immediately. No surgery, no five day round of antibiotics... So there's that to think about. He even healed the Centurian's servant from a distance... never even got near him.
Anyway, back to the pigs.
I personally love barbequed pork. I wondered why Jesus would throw those innocent beasts into the sea. but Jesus was Jewish and so those animals were unclean. So I get that.
But now we're down to what I do not understand. The whole village who had been victims of these demon possessed men came to Jesus and begged him to... come heal their sick? nope. Come drive out the rest of the demons? wrong again. They came and begged... pleaded with him to leave their region.
So I'm looking for clues. I guess a pig raising culture was most likely not Jewish, so you've got maybe a Godless society going on. The very entrance to the region was guarded by demons so were they isolated?
Personally, I thought they were an insane culture to turn away the very one who could heal their sick.
And then it hit me. There have been times I've begged Jesus to leave me alone. I had to ask myself some questions.
What regions of my heart do I beg Jesus to leave alone? What areas do I not want him to change? Do I struggle to give up my sweet barbeque sauce when He asks me to fast for a few days? My pork pad thai? My chocolate?
Even as I work this out into print, I notice I say "my" pork. Demons are frightening, yes. But love is more fierce sometimes. It requires me to change. To yield those "my" areas I want to keep to myself.
And yet, here stands Jesus who comes to me, willing to heal and restore. I didn't ask Him to come, yet here He is anyway. Love.
What am going to do with that?