Saturday, April 23, 2011

How are you going to respond when Jesus, the creator of the universe, shows up in your life? When he showed up on the boat with the disciples they wondered in amazement at who he was. In the second snap shot we see a different response.

In the first part of Mark 5, Jesus and his disciples enter an area and a freaky thing happens to them: a naked, fully crazed man runs to meet them. Jesus casts out the evil spirits into a herd of pigs (2,000 of them). The guys who are tending the pigs, run into town and tell the townsfolk about what happened. The people from the area come to Jesus, see the and ask him to leave; leave the area; leave them alone.

What surprised me about the response of the people is the contrast between what they had before Jesus showed up and what they had after.

Before: a mad man who they had tried to control by chaining him up, who broke the chains and shackles, who lived in the tombs, cried out so people heard him and cut himself with stones. Basically, someone terrorized the town. I mean, imagine living in the town near this guy. You wouldn't let your kids out to play by themselves for fear something might happen. You hear his eerie cries at night that scare your kids and won't let them sleep. When you want to travel to your friends in the next village you take the long way because you are afraid of seeing "him" and worried about what might happen to you and your family.

After: A "normal" guy, dressed, in his right mind, sitting and talking with Jesus. OK, so you are down a herd of pigs (which is weird considering they are in a region of Jewish population, but hey..), but you have security for your family back. People will once again visit your village because "he" is gone now. The reputation of your village has been restored.

And they want Jesus to leave because they are afraid.........

The burning question that I have is when do I ask Jesus to leave? When am I afraid of what Jesus asks me to do, do I ask him to leave or do I invite him in to change me? Do I ask him to move me to a place where I am more holy, or do I politely ask him to leave? Do I engage the unknown and move toward him or do I move in fear and ask him to move away from me?

Jesus may not show up and cast an evil spirit out, but he may show up and ask me to stop a sin pattern that I hold dear. He may move toward me and ask me to love my wife better than I do myself. He may ask me to commit everything to him and serve him with greater abandonment. I know that he will ask me something - my question is will I move toward him or ask him to leave.

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