Friday, September 16, 2011

Jesus' Heart

There is a story about Jesus going into a territory and being met by a man tormented by thousands of demons. Jesus began to cast them out of the man, and the demons begged to be sent into a herd of nearby pigs. When Jesus allowed this, the demons tormented the pigs, so they flung themselves into the sea and drowned. Then, people came out from the town and asked Jesus to leave.

This story has been portrayed in several movies about Jesus. The movies never seem to make it clear why the town asked Jesus to leave.

The Bible says the possessed man lived in the tombs, caused himself harm continually and the town had tried to restrain him several times. They even used chains. But he had escaped each time.

Why did they try to restrain him? Were they trying to be compassionate and protect the man? Did the man torment the town as well as himself? In that case, they were trying to restrain the man to protect themselves.

The Bible says people from the town came out to see Jesus after hearing about the incident. And when they saw the man whom they had unsuccessfully restrained, sitting calmly and in his right mind (perhaps something they had never seen before) they became afraid. It was fear that moved them to ask Jesus to leave. Did they not realize the good he had accomplished? He assured the health and safety of the man, and possibly those in the town.

Did they recognize that something powerful had occurred and not trust its source? They certainly did not understand Jesus’ heart. If they had, they would have welcomed him with open arms. But they did not know Jesus ... and they were afraid of power combined with unknown motives.

We are not in that situation. We do know Jesus’ motives. We doubt his power and ability.

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