Pondering the Gospels Matthew 8:34
“And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.”
Jesus does a mighty miracle by healing two possesed souls and sends their demon devils into a heard of pigs. The local people lose sight of the truly important (the miracle and more importantly the person behind it) and are concerned about pigs. Instead of inviting this amazing God filled man to share His insight with them they plead for Him to leave. How sad and ignorant.
After their request to leave, what does Jesus do? 1) Argue with them as to why He should stay 2) Use His awesome power and wipe them out 3) Graciously comply and exit. The answer is 3. God doesnt force Himself upon people. He is a true Gentleman. Now with that said, there are consequences to bad decisions. God is normally very patient but sooner or later the alloted time expires.
This story reminds me of the old saying, ‘Cutting off one’s nose in spite of the face’. So with Jesus gone there won’t be any more pigs herded into the river of death but they wont be seeing any miracles either.
It’s kind of easy for me and perhaps you too to say they were bloody foolish and justly so. Yet, how do we ourselves do similiar in our own lives. Perhaps when we squeeze hard to a dollar in our fist that if given to a worthy cause ten would have came back? Or we didnt want to get out of our comfort zone and get baptized so we self deny our identity with Christ? Or we so fret over the ills in life we miss out on the abundant life Jesus came to lead us into?
Here is an excellent excerpt from Matthew Henry’s commentary on this passage: God often, for wise and holy ends, permits the efforts of Satan’s rage. Thus the devil hurries people to sin; hurries them to what they have resolved against, which they know will be shame and grief to them: miserable is the condition of those who are led captive by him at his will. There are a great many who prefer their swine before the Saviour, and so come short of Christ and salvation by him. They desire Christ to depart out of their hearts, and will not suffer his word to have place in them, because he and his word would destroy their brutish lusts, those swine which they give themselves up to feed. And justly will Christ forsake all that are weary of him; and say hereafter, Depart, ye cursed, to those who now say to the Almighty, Depart from us.
I hope you dont place your stock in pigs and miss out on Jesus like these people.
My prayer: LORD of life, please help me rise above the toxins, scrape off the scum and eradicate the stench of this world while at the same time help me realize I am going to get dirty in this world, at least my feet. Wash my feet this morning and walk with me this day, my good Shepherd.