Sunday, October 04, 2020

Disruption


In Matthew 8, Jesus is walking through the country of the Gadarenes, and as he approaches the tombs, he's confronted by 2 demon-possessed men who Matthew describes as "so fierce, no one could pass that way." 

Side Note:  Does every childhood include a Boo Radley (To Kill A Mockingbird) type of neighbor?  When our girls were little, we had a neighbor who lived alone in "the scary house".  The house was hidden from the road with overgrown trees and was in need of some home repair.  The older man that lived there didn't seem to drive, but could occasionally be spotted on a bicycle with a small bag of groceries hanging from the handle-bars.  Every time the girls quickly walked past his house, more made-up stories would be told about children disappearing or animals dying...

I imagine the demon-possessed men were the subjects of stories that swirled around the region and were repeated around a campfires with descriptions of their torn, filthy clothing, wild eyes, erratic behavior, and rumored acts of violence.  Townspeople had surely re-routed their normal paths to avoid the men and warned children to stay away.   If they'd had a Nextdoor app, I'm certain there would be several threads airing complaints and discussing ways to deal with the neighborhood nuisances.

As Jesus encounters the men, the evil spirits know what's coming and beg him to send them into a herd of nearby pigs instead of whatever other fate might await them.  Jesus complies and the pigs immediately run down a steep bank into the sea and drown.  

The evil spirits are gone!  The terror of the neighborhood has been taken care of!  I imagine something like the Wizard of Oz when everyone sings "Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead".  Hurray!  Right?  

But Matthew reports that when the town heard about what happened, they came out to beg him to leave.

Some people will be too scared of the disruption to experience the Kingdom of God.

Jesus heals the tormented men, frees those who leave nearby from the evil has terrorized them, and demonstrates his incredible power.   But the townspeople are so fearful that Jesus might destroy their way of life as farmers, might disrupt their ways they've found to cope, might cost too much, that they send him away.

Jesus came to disrupt the status quo.  He will most certainly disrupt our views on politics, how we spend our money, the media we watch, the clothes we purchase, our understanding of race, or even the way we vote.  

I don't want to miss the Kingdom of God because I'm too scared to risk what I've always known.


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