Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Demon-Possessed Man - Knock, Knock

Luke 8:36-37 Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well. And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned.

When my oldest daughter was in 8th grade, our church youth group took a missions trip to Atlanta, Georgia. I volunteered to be a chaperone - and we spent a week in the middle of summer helping one of our sister churches plant a new church in Atlantic Station. As you might imagine, planting a new church is hard work, but the preacher that started it had a burden for this city. There's a lot of labor involved, a lot of money and a lot of people needed. We were mopping floors, handing out tracts, throwing "come see our church" block parties. One of our tasks while we were in Atlanta was to be in one of the new apartment complexes near where the church was going to be and hand out chick-fil-a breakfast sandwiches at 7 AM to people going to work. We sat right outside of the parking garage attached to the apartments and stopped people on their way and gave them this free sandwich. Who wouldn't want a nice hot FREE chick-fil-a sandwich on their way to work, with a flyer announcing the new church. Believe it or not, some people actually would not accept the sandwich. They said, 'no', and kept on driving. Go figure.

The people of Gerasene were much like the Atlanta Ney sayers. They had heard that Jesus had healed the demon-possessed man and when they came to see - they found it was true. The man was there - in his right mind - standing with Jesus. Instead of trying to find out what it was that Jesus had done, why the demons had left the man, they asked Him to leave.

When the people of Atlanta said "no", we didn't chase them into the streets and throw the sandwiches and flyers into their open windows, pelting them with chicken and buns - we just wished them a good day and they went on their way.

Jesus didn't argue with the Gerasene people, He didn't beg them to let Him stay, didn't threaten to put the demons back - He simply left. One of the gifts that God gives us is free will. We have the option to choose whether or not we will believe who Jesus is and accept it to be true. We can have faith in His promise and stand firm in the fact that if we choose to follow Him, we will, one day, meet Him face to face and it will be more glorious than we can imagine. We can also choose to not believe in Jesus. When faced with the marvel of His creation, the majesty of the earth He made, the peace that passes all understanding, we can simply choose to ignore Him and, in essence, asking Him to leave. But He will be waiting, always waiting, for you to ask Him to come in.

3 wonderful insights:

Kay Martin said...

I know that area of Atlanta and I can only imagine of all the mindsets in those residents. In this post-Christian world we are despised because of the concept of what a Christian is by many people. I live in an interesting area (the Buckle of the Bible Belt) and I have seen offensive people using their religion of Chrisitanity to be hard, unloving and cruel.

This time is one we have to do as you did with a loving heart and Holy Spirit will have to melt their hearts.

Rampant sin and doing whatever suits me for the moment causes many people to resent the disciplines of our Christian faith.

Only God can help us in this time. He has always been our only hope, right?

Todd G said...

LOL that's a funny image, chasing down the cars and throwing sandwiches and flyers into their windows.

I've always found myself puzzling over the reaction of the people of Gerasene people when Jesus healed the demoniac. I sometimes wonder if they were so upset about the loss of all the pigs.

Good post, as always :-)

Greg C said...

When you tell someone that you have something for them that is free, they immediatly suspect a trap. I think that is why a lot of people turn away from Jesus. His love and forgiveness are free but some people are afraid that there is more involved so they run away. It is so sad.