February 03, 2020 – Monday
Matthew 8:28-34 NIV
28 When He arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, 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?”
30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32 He 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. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they pleaded with Him to leave their region.
Today I am cheating as I taught on the verses above on Sunday morning, but my focus here is on the last verse where the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they pleaded with Him to leave their region.
What an odd response when He had taken two demon-possessed men and returned them to normalcy. Of course there was the loss of the large herd of pigs well. Still truly odd. What was the cause, the real cause, of them pleading with Jesus to leave their region?
Peter Pett’s commentary makes the following comments: And the consequence was that ‘all the city’ (both Jews and Gentiles) consulted together through their elders and then came to Jesus in a large deputation on behalf of the whole city, and begged Him to leave their borders. They knew what a Jewish prophet would think about pigs, and they did not want any further attacks on their herds. It may also be that they were afraid to have such a powerful Jewish prophet among them. Who could know what might happen next? Every Jew would read out of this that they preferred their uncleanness to the purity of God.
I think Pett got very close to the truth when he wrote Every Jew would read out of this that they preferred their uncleanness to the purity of God. But only close as both Jew and Gentile would prefer their uncleanness to the purity of God. First in John 1:4-5 we read that Jesus was the light of all mankind: In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A more explicit answer was provided by Jesus when He was speaking to Nicodemus about Himself in John 3:19-20 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
When the whole town went out to meet Jesus and they pleaded with Him to leave their region it was most likely because they loved their darkness and did not want any of Jesus’ light. This is not so different from what did happened during the Super Bowl on Sunday or rather what did not happen. There was a thirty second black and white ad FOX Sports refused to run show as it would shine a light on lies associated with abortion. That ad might have led people to even more light, the 2 minute+ video the ad was derived from.
People living in sin as a way of life have the light. Here it helps to remember the difference be light and darkness. Too many people think of them as opposites, but they are not. Darkness is the absence of light just as death is not the opposite of life, but the absence of life. Bring any bit of light into a completely dark room and suddenly the darkness is defeated, gone. Thus people living in sin, choosing to live in sin, have a real hate for the light that is Jesus and will do almost anything to avoid His light.
As you read through the New Testament you will find many who wanted the light that Jesus brought into their lives and you will also read of many who wanted to avoid any light He might bring into their lives. This was true for those hearing the Good News of Jesus after His ascension into heaven. Many were glad to hear it and received the light it brought into their lives. Others preferred the darkness they were living in. It is much the same way today. Our ‘job’ as Christians is to let Jesus’ light shine through us so they can see what He has to offer them and their lives.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton