Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Matthew 8:28-34; Christ Offends Us

 28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

 29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

 30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.

 31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.

 32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.

 33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.

 34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts. (Matthew 8)

What do we have in this story? We have two men possessed with devils who are cause such problems that they inhibit anyone from using the road near where they resided. Upon seeing Jesus, the devils immediately recognize Jesus and set about in a plan to use Jesus' inevitable reaction to them to their own advantage, as they suppose. They suggest he sends them off to a nearby herd of pigs, knowing full well that they will kill the pigs in hopes to cause a negative reaction toward Jesus in the townspeople.

Here is the interesting thing. Jews weren't supposed to eat pigs under the law of Moses. What could be misinterpreted as an oversight by Jesus was actually a service to the townspeople. Did they appreciate the fact that this sin had been alleviated from them? No, they told him to leave. They obviously did not care that their main thoroughfare was now open to travel. They did not recognize the good done in destroying the swine.

What principles does this story illusrate?
1. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not comprehend it. Jesus was rejected by the very people he was helping. They did not recognize his works as helpful. They asked him to leave. We ought to trust God and assume that what he is doing is right and in our best interest. If we are ever in doubt, we should ask him why he is doing what he is doing.

2. The devil stirs up men against that which is good. Instead of recognizing these events for what they were, these townspeople instead saw things carnally. Instead of seeing themselves as freed from a temporal and spiritual burden, they only saw a loss of property. They could not recognize that the property inhibited their relationship with God. God never takes anything away from the righteous that does not benefit them more than the loss. Ever.

3. The devil and his minions can't outsmart God. God is more intelligent than them all. His plans cannot be frustrated by devils or men possessed with devils.