Read Genesis 21:5-20, Psalm 34 and Matthew 8:28-34
“All the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighbourhood.” (Matthew 8:34)
Our Gospel passage today contains some rather puzzling realities. One, the two demoniacs felt offended by the mere presence of Jesus in their territory. They cried: “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come to torment us before the time?” Notice that these were the same words spoken by the demoniac in the synagogue (Cf. Mark 1:24, 5:7). Why do demons try to challenge Jesus? The same reason why they try to challenge the children of light; to intimidate and put fear in us.
Two, once the demons noticed that Jesus was not afraid, they started begging. “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine.” As a child of God, you have authority over the forces of darkness. If you know your true worth before God, you will never be afraid of demons. Jesus gave heed to their plea to teach us that the life of one human is worth more than a whole herd of pigs.
Three, it is baffling that Jesus would allow the demons enter the pigs instead of simply destroying them completely. This means the demons asked a valid question: “Have you come to torment us before the time?” There is a time for this final destruction which obviously hasn’t come yet otherwise, there would no longer be any demons in existence.
Jesus hinted on this when He said: “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” (Matthew 12:43-45). This is why we have to let God take complete possession of us and never give any room to the devil.
Four, the reaction of the people upon seeing what had happened speaks volumes about their love for money. Rather than rejoice at the deliverance of the demoniacs, they simply begged Jesus to leave their neighbourhood. They probably assumed that if Jesus were to cure all the demoniacs in their city, there might not be any livestock left. Has it ever occurred to you that like these people, there are times we kick Jesus out of our lives all because of our pursuit of (or perceived loss of ) some material riches?
Five, just as Jesus accepted the plea of the demons and sent them to the pigs, Jesus agreed to walk away from their town peacefully when they asked Him to leave. God will never force His way into your life if you do not make Him welcome. I mean, we all have a choice, to be possessed by the Holy Spirit or to be possessed by the evil spirits such as lust, materialism (greed), wrath, pride, envy, gluttony, sloth, etc.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, may I never be so blind as to push you aside in any aspect of my life. Amen
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of week 13 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Genesis 21:5-20, Psalm 34 and Matthew 8:28-34)