Celebrating or Rejecting Jesus
In Luke 8:26-40 we find a story about Jesus delivering a man possessed by many demons. This man was in really bad shape. Jesus helps this man and it’s interesting to see how the people, who knew this man, reacted to Jesus.
First of all, Jesus reconstructed this man’s life. This man lived in the tombs where people tried unsuccessfully to bind him up with chains. This man’s life was in ruins, broken and shattered. He was simply a shell of a man who had enjoyed a life sometime in the distant past. This man was alone and in a very bad situation. His life needed reconstruction, and Jesus reconstructed this man’s life. This is what Jesus does for us. He takes our broken down, ruined lives and He reconstructs them into beautiful designs of God’s loving architecture.
Secondly, He gave him his life back. He had no friends, no wife to love him, no children to play with him, nobody that would invite him over for dinner. Had it not been for Jesus, this man’s life was over, destroyed by the demons who possessed him. He would have honestly been better off dead than to have lived as a host to a legion of demons. He was being far less than God intended for him to be. Yet, Jesus, by a simple command of authority, gave this man back his life. He could now go home to a possibly waiting wife and family. If he wasn’t married, he could now get married and have children. When we give ourselves to Jesus, He gives us a true life in return.
Thirdly, Jesus gave him a purpose. No longer would he live in the tombs tormented day and night. No longer would he be the talk of the town during gossip sessions. No longer would he be the story of a man who once was. No! Now he would be telling anyone who would listen about how Jesus delivered him, gave him his life and mind back, and gave him a job to do. His job was to tell everyone of the wonderful power and love of God. What a great purpose this man now had. We have the same opportunity. We can tell others about the things that Jesus has done for us. We can tell them how He reconstructed our lives, how He gave us our life back and how He powerfully set us free from our chains of bondage.
I found something very interesting in this story: Jesus entertained the request from the demons. He actually allowed them to ask Him for something (to be cast into the pigs) and He allowed them their request. Now, from what I understand of Old Testament law, the Jews in this region shouldn’t have been raising pigs but they were. This may have something to do with this. I just found this interesting.
When the people heard about this amazing event, they were gripped with fear. Instead of being awe struck and praising God because this demonic man was now clothed and in his right mind, they were afraid and actually asked Jesus to leave their area. They wanted Him to leave them alone. Their fear brought about some very strong misunderstanding. Their misunderstanding caused them to ask God to leave them alone. And Jesus granted their request. How scary!
I wonder what about God makes you fear. I know for me sometimes God gets into my business, i.e. He begins to ask me to deal with issues in my life. There are times He wants me to repent to someone for something I did wrong. I am tempted at those moments to tell Him to leave me alone because I don’t want to deal with my issues. He knows the real me. I can’t hide things from Him.
Other times I have seen God do some really unusual and powerful things that my analytical mind can’t seem to grasp. There’s been a few times that I have wanted to back away because of my misunderstanding of what He is doing or how He chooses to do it.
What I find most fascinating is that Jesus leaves this region after being asked to leave. He goes back across the lake and the Bible says that the crowd welcomed Him because they had been waiting on Him. The first group rejected Him. This group celebrated Him. They anticipated His arrival. Wow. I began to think about all the times that I have went to church, gathering with my fellow believers and saying we were wanting God to show up. But were we? Did we anticipate His arrival? Did we welcome Him when He came? Or did He show up in a way we didn’t like or understand, so we withheld our worship, essentially asking Him to leave. I hope that I will always celebrate His presence and not reject Him.
In your life, do you celebrate Jesus or sometimes reject Him?