Friday, August 10, 2007

Asking Jesus to Leave

Matthew 8:34 At that, the whole town went out to meet Jesus. When they saw Him, they begged Him to leave their region.

Let's set the stage here; Jesus has just been ministering in Capernaum and has told His disciples that they are to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. When they reach the other side, in a place called Gadarene they are confronted by two demon possessed men who lived there among the tombs. The text tells us that these demon possessed men were so violent that no one could pass by there. When the demons that were possessing these men saw Jesus they began to shout "What have You to do with us, Son of God? Have You come to torment us before the time?" The parallel passage in Luke tells us that the demons begged Him not to send them to the abyss (Luke 8:30). The story goes on and tells us that there was a herd of pigs in the area, and the demons begged Him to send them there. He granted their request and all of the pigs ran down a steep bank into the sea, and they all died. Those who witnesses this went into the city and reported all that they had just seen, and it is here that we come to our verse for the day. After hearing everything that Jesus had just done, these people looked Him in the eye, and they begged Him to leave.

How many times do we witness the work of Jesus and then ask Him to leave? Oh, we may not come right out and say that we want Him to leave, but our actions couldn't be any more clear. The people in this account didn't raise an objection to the demon possessed men being set free, they didn't even object to the death of the pigs; their problem was with Jesus. Why? Because when sinful men come in contact with a holy God they are terrified. When we see Jesus for who He really is we must, without exception, also face our own sinfulness, and most of the time we are not willing to do that. It is a scary thing to be confronted by the holiness of God. When Isaiah saw God he said "Woe is me for I am ruined" (Isaiah 6:5) and Peter fell at His feet proclaiming "Go away from me, because I am a sinful man, Lord!" (Luke 5:8) when he recognized the holiness of Jesus. But look at Jesus' response in verse 10,He said to Peter "Don't be afraid." That is always His response to the sinner who is willing to admit his sin and turn to Him for healing and forgiveness.

Today take some time to review your life and see if there is any area where you have told Jesus to leave. If there is repent and ask Jesus to come back; if not just rejoice in His holiness.
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Anonymous said...

How right you are Chris. Yup. Ashamed to say it, but I've done it too. -Will

Deborah said...

Wow... I read through this passage of Scripture just last week and basically had the same reaction you did. I thought, "Imagine asking Jesus, God in the flesh, to leave. The power of God scared them just like it sometimes scares us today." While I do believe the power of God scares us sometimes, you're more correct. It's always the holiness of God, first and foremost, that we cannot withstand, as with Isaiah. I agree with you: repent. Thanks to Jesus, we can stand before a holy God with repentant hearts, wearing Jesus' robe of righteousness, because we've been washed clean by His precious blood. Thank you for sharing your insight into this passage of Scripture. - Deborah