Daily Readings & Thought for September 16th. “ASKED HIM TO DEPART”
We read of a remarkable miracle today in Luke ch. 8., the healing of a man who had become totally deranged in mind. He was well known, owned a house and lived in the city before he became insane. Jesus did many miracles in many different ways but this healing was particularly challenging to those who knew the man and lived in his city.
Jesus came to “the country of the Gerasenes and this man, in his insane state, now lived among the tombs, “When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” [v.28] His insane mind led him to perceive who Jesus really was! There was nothing to be gained by Jesus explaining that such a state of mind was not caused by an ‘evil spirit’ taking over control of the mind; this belief had arisen as a result of the Greek conquest; this was what the Greeks superstitiously believed: the Old Testament shows that no such beliefs were held in earlier years.
A dramatic healing occurs! The supposed ‘demons’ are ‘seen’ to be in the pigs because they madly rush down the slope and drown in the waters of Galilee. Now eating pork, even touching their carcases was ‘unclean’ under the law God gave to Moses [Lev. 11 v.7,8]; obviously those keeping the pigs had no regard for the law! The event was a challenge to the “people (who) went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.” [v.35]
Every other healing Jesus did resulted in many more to come for healings but not here! “All the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them for they were seized with great fear. [v.37] We suspect they were afraid of other things that might happen that would cause a further loss of livelihood.
The reasons are not entirely different today for those who believe in evolution rather than a Creator who will hold them responsible for how they live their lives. Those who believe in a Creator have at least some responsibility! Recall what we read last week in Ezekiel in chapter 3. “If I say to the wicked, ’You shall sure die,” God says to Ezekiel, “and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn … he shall die for his iniquity but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked … you will have delivered your soul” [ch. 3 v.18,19] Any words we attempt to speak or write must be done in love. Jesus told his hearers to “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” [Matt 5 v.44]. We do not want Jesus “to depart” from us.