When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country. The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened. Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well. And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned. (Luke 8:34-37 NASB)
We look now at the most heartbreaking part of the story. When the demons went into the pigs, the pigs started running and quickly ran straight off a cliff into the sea. The herd was lost and those pig herders were likely in big trouble with their boss. Their only defense was an unbelievable tale about a traveling preacher and a naked wild man. Who was going to believe that? Nevertheless, those pig herders rushed around, telling everyone they saw about what had happened.
Their story was so compelling that the people went out to the tombs to see for themselves. Because the pigs were gone, the only evidence was the former demon-controlled man, now fully dressed, fully sane, and soaking up the words of Jesus, seated at His feet. These were likely the same people who had been part of the effort to restrain him. When they saw him fully restored, it frightened them to death.
Eye witnesses confirmed what they had seen and the story chilled them to the bone. They were in the presence of something they did not understand. About the only thing they did understand was that an entire herd of pigs had run off the cliff into the sea and somehow Jesus was involved. The loss of the pigs was an economic loss to their owners and probably resulted in job loss for all the pig herders. It was a blow to the community as well as the owner.
If they had stopped long enough to ask what Jesus wanted to show them, what new plan He had for them, which direction they should go, things would likely have been different. Instead, in the midst of an amazing miracle of grace, redemption, and restoration, on a day filled with miracles, an entire town and the surrounding community allowed their fear and uncertainty to lead them into the biggest mistake they would ever make.
"You need to leave and don't come back," they told Jesus in no uncertain terms. And He did.
What could be more tragic than to respond to confusing, uncertain, and difficult times by rejecting the One who has it all firmly under control?
Are you in the midst of hard times? Have you suffered losses? Are there circumstances you don't understand? It is easy to respond with fear, our only objective to put distance between us and those circumstances. We would do well to be still, sit at the feet of Jesus along with the newly healed, and listen. Dear ones, the time for rejecting is done. Be still. Know that He is God. Fear not. Embrace His plan.
Our terrorist/terror group of the week is the former ISIS, now the Islamic State. Their leader is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. To learn more about them and their goal of spreading radical jihad and sharia rule throughout the world, click here: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/08/radical-obedience-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi.html
Link to last night's Friday Night With Friends post: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/08/friday-night-with-friends-prayers-for.html