The Lord performed a great miracle. He delivered two demon-possessed men who in their distressing condition had become a great risk and nuisance to the whole town. With just one word Jesus cast out the demons and sent them into a large herd of pigs feeding nearby, which resulted in the pigs rushing down into the lake and drowning. Scripture goes on to say that the men who were tending the pigs ran off into the town to report the fate of pigs and the two delivered men. It says,
“Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus.”
At first this reaction seems unsurprising, natural even. Following the awesome deliverance Jesus had performed, the whole town rushed out to meet the miracle-worker as one would expect.
However, the sentence that follows takes an unexpected turn: “..when they saw Him, they pleaded with Him to leave..”. They did not celebrate Him, thank Him, glorify Him nor praise Him as we might expect them to have, but instead they wanted Him gone. But why? Wouldn’t they have wanted The Lord to remain with them and heal all their sick, give sight to the blind, make the lame walk and cleanse the lepers in the whole region?
Why did they want Jesus to leave their region? It is possible that the people were so absorbed in what they had lost materially, that they were blind to the glory of God, and all that they had received from His mighty miracle. The deliverance brought peace and freedom, to the two men and to the whole town, but they heard about the material loss incurred when the herd of pigs drowned in the lake, and this took precedence in their eyes. The loss of income from pigs seemed greater than the peace and joy that was brought to human lives. Jesus on the other hand, was unperturbed by the financial loss that was caused. But the people were consumed by fear to be able to embrace the glory they had witnessed- a fear of losing what they possessed, a fear of losing the stability of wealth.
Looking at our own lives, are we any different to these people? The sad truth is, no we are not. For, often we too respond in the same way. Why is it that we prefer to run our own lives, the way we want, as long as we can, and only run to God when the going gets tough? The simple answer is that we too might be afraid that if we invite The Lord to be involved in our lives, He may ask for things that we don’t want to let go. We fear that He might ask for our time and resources, and even the authority over our relationships, passions, careers, finances etc. The very same gifts we receive from The Lord might easily become the reasons we ask Him to leave us, because of the fear of being asked to give up what we hold dear to our hearts.
The people of the town did not realise that they were rejecting The One who could give them much more than mere pigs, mere wealth and any worldly prize. Do we also ask The Lord to steer clear of our lives without realising that a life without Him at its centre could easily turn our greatest blessings and treasures into curses and burdens to us?
In light of this reality, let us ask the Holy Spirit to renew our minds to accept this truth and repent, and to make us bold enough to give our unconditional ‘yeses’ to Jesus, our Lord, to embrace Him in greater measures instead of pushing Him away in all His glory and power. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to forge a new reaction to the actions of God in our lives – a reaction of complete awe and exaltation, one that is worthy of His greatness.