Scripture: Matt 8:28When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes,[d] two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29“What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
30Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
Observation: Sometimes we have to put some good things aside in order to get rid of the bad things that are keeping us from God.
Application: This miracle of Jesus was pretty astounding really. It says a few things about demons, like they know that they are defeated and that its only a matter of time, and that they realize they must be subject to Christ because Christ is God. There are quite a few things we could learn from this miracle, it seems to me very much like a visual parable. But I want to focus in on one thing. When Jesus cleansed these two fellows and sent the spirits into the pigs, the pigs then ran off into the water and died. This infuriated the towns people and they asked Jesus to leave.
The people of the town were not concerned with the welfare of the two who had so recently been set free from the demon possession, they were upset that the pigs were destroyed. They looked past healed to scoff at the cure. Yes something they saw as good had been lost, but it was for the benefit of two people that the pigs were sacrificed. Sometimes I think that we have to be willing to give up some of the things we consider good in order to get rid of something that is standing between us and God.
I think this is really what Jesus was saying when He said, in Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” We must be willing to let Jesus be first in our lives above all else. And if we aren’t willing to do that, we end up losing all those good things anyway.
I imagine that when those pigs died, the spirits that were there immediately started looking for another host. There was a whole town of people they could rush to. And I imagine that before long they were wishing they had not asked Jesus to leave so soon.
I know that sometimes I allow things that I consider to be good things, to take priority in my life when really they should be a little further down the list. I have to remember that God is first, Family is next, and then I can put those good things somewhere further down the line.
Prayer: Lord God,
Help me to keep things in the propper perspectives. Help me to prioritize my life in the ways you would have me to and help me to keep the things that I consider “good things” in the right place so that they never take precidence over You or my family. Help me to be willing to surrender all to you and to your will and purpose. Thank you for your loving kindness, and for your mercy and grace that are as fresh as the morning.
Yield: God, help me to loosen my grip on the “good things.”