When he came to the other side, to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road. They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding. The demons pleaded with him, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go then!” They came out and entered the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea where they drowned. The swineherds ran away, and when they came to the town they reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.( Matthew 8:28-34)
Today’s Gospel is a curious story.
Jesus took pity on these men who were overtaken by a legion of evil spirits. But, after Jesus freed the demoniacs, the whole city came out to meet him. No one had demonstrated such power and authority against the forces of Satan as Jesus did. They feared Jesus as a result and begged him to leave them.
It’s an example of the fact that many fear acknowledging evil. It’s as if by discussing it, we are tainted by it. Yet, in our everyday life, evil exists both in the outside world and in our inner demons.
The best antidote to evil is the overwhelming love of Jesus Christ for each of us. That love should empower us to acknowledge our fears and our own demons.
It begins with a hallmark of a follower of Christ. Authenticity. Honesty. By being honest with ourselves and honest enough to turn to Him for the love and grace to expunge anything dark within us.
We all experience nights in which the shadows take on strange and menacing shapes. We all fear losing our securities, abandoning our own point of view, and the certainties that we have built for ourselves.
But by not acknowledging darkness, it becomes a fear which paralyze our lives. In order to drive away the serpents, we must stare them down: God ordered Moses to forge a bronze serpent and to set it on a staff so that, those who had been bitten, would look at the image which represented the evil that had struck them down. Often, only by opening our eyes and looking at what is doing us harm, can we find the strength of healing.
Instead of a staff with a bronze serpent, we have something more powerful. It’s not bronze. It’s wood. It’s not a staff, its two roughhewn pieces of lumber.
Yes, it is the cross.
The cross represents everything that we fear. It is death, judgment, abandonment and desolation. Jesus tells us that we must look upon it so that we can discover that He has taken our place there. And only in this way, only by looking upon the Cross, can we be healed.
Healed by a love that is greater than words can utter. Healed by a compassion and understanding that defies understanding. Yet, it is real. It’s what every Christian seeks. But we don’t have to seek it. It it there. It is there in the darkness and the light. It is the words that we wish to hear.
Come to me, my child. In my arms, I will make you whole. In my love, you will come to know the healing power of my love. Come. Rest in me.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, unbind me that I may love you wholly and walk in the freedom of your way of love and holiness. May there be nothing which keeps me from the joy of living in your presence.”
What is more remarkable – the destructive force of these driven and possessed men, or their bended knee at Jesus’ feet imploring mercy and release (Luke 8:28)? God’s word reminds us that no destructive force can keep anyone from the peace and safety which God offers to those who seek his help. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you. Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation (Psalm 91:7,9).
Jesus will free us from anything that binds us
The Lord Jesus is ready and willing to free us from anything that binds us and that keeps us from the love of God. Are you willing to part with anything that might keep you from his love and saving power?