Friday, November 15, 2013

A Demon in the Church - Part seven

And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm. (Luke 4:35b NASB)

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. (Isaiah 40:11 NASB)

When Jesus rebuked the demon and commanded him to leave the man, the demon had an unusual response.  He did leave, as commanded, but on the way out, he "threw him down" in the midst of the people. The image here is of a cranky, angry child throwing down a broken toy in frustration or, perhaps, of someone discarding rubbish of no value. 

Once Jesus intervened in the man's life, he was no good to the demon, for there was no place for the demon to reside. Not only was there no place for the demon, but there was no power for the demon. The man had no value if he could no longer be controlled, so he was discarded as worthless. In casting out the demon, Jesus removed his place and power, but in granting mercy and grace to the man, the position of tormenter and tempter was also removed. An opportune time might, and surely would, come again, but for the present, the position of tormenter was eliminated. No place, no power, no position. The only concern the demon had for the man was what evil could be done to and with him. When that opportunity was gone, so was his value, and he was tossed aside as quickly as used tissue. 

Contrast the demon's care of the man to that of The Good Shepherd. He sees the little lambs, too small and weak to keep up with the larger sheep, and is filled with compassion. He gathers them in his arms and snuggles them "in his bosom" and close to his heart. Perhaps He leans His head in to that soft lamb's fur and breathes in the scent of little baby lamb. Ahhh. How precious those lambs are to the Shepherd. They are the joy of the present and the hope of the future. 

Two very different scenarios and two different choices are available to us. Pawn of demons or the joy of Jesus. We WILL have relationship, with the world or with Jesus. Which one will it be?

Keep the image of those baby lambs nestled next to the Shepherd's heart as you pray today. Pray that you would snuggle in the loving arms of Jesus and allow Him to comfort you in your pain, heal your wounds, strengthen you for any task. Pray, too, that our loved ones would grow so tired of their struggle that they would long for, and welcome, the loving, healing embrace of the Good Shepherd. Close to His heart. Ahh. What a sweet place to be!