March 1, 2016: Someone Feared
A man of the city who had demons… (v. 27)
“This thing is bigger than the both of us,” as they used to say in the old movies.
The thing that Jesus confronted in “the country of the Gerasenes”—demon possession—was not a deliberately chosen, evil way of life, like that of the tax collector, nor was it an evil disease that sensible people would try not to catch, like leprosy. It was something bigger and deeper, something that came more directly from the pit, from the source of all evil. The village council was at its wits’ end. “He’s so strong! We clapped him in irons, and he simply broke them. It’s frightening. Let’s just hope he stays out of town.”
Of course the Gerasenes feared this demon-possessed man. Yet, curiously, it was not while he was raving, but after he had been cured, that Luke says “they were afraid.” From Jesus’ point of view, another outsider had been transformed by the gospel and brought back in to start a new life. But from the Gerasenes’ point of view (the local hog trade having just been destroyed!), the Lord’s transforming power was a bigger threat than the demon’s destructive power. Jesus might want to transform them! He might disrupt business or challenge their way of life, and that would never do…would it?
Prayer: Lord, make us willing for whatever change in us will bring glory to you.
Today’s devotional was written by Michael Wilcock, a retired pastor in the Church of England. This Lenten series comes from Words of Hope, whose mission is to build the church in the hard places through media. To learn more about the organization or subscribe to Words of Hope’s daily devotions, visit www.woh.org.