Mark 5:17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

     The people of the Gerasenes region had seen too much of Jesus. He drove the demons infesting an ‘incurable’ man into a heard of pigs.  The pigs then ran into the sea and drowned. Jesus not only saved a man’s life that couldn’t be saved but was also responsible for the loss of valuable livestock. He was scary! He was trouble!

     Good news and deliverance isn’t always welcomed with joy. Sometimes people see the miraculous as disturbing because it upsets their view of the world. When I was healed of heart disease, some people said I was misdiagnosed. In a way, they were asking Jesus to leave their region. It didn’t matter what my deeply held beliefs were. It didn’t matter what my experience was; prior to my healing the continual pain and lack of energy. And after my healing – no more pain and lots of energy!  What mattered was that people don’t get healed by supernatural means. If we allow God to work His way we won’t be able to say we’re in charge of our own fate! 

     The people put up with the demon possessed man.  They counldn’t control him so they got used to him; “For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.” (Mark 5:4,5) We grow accustomed to that we cannot control, allowing it to roam about freely on the periphery of our consciousness as long as it makes no demands upon us beyond setting a border which we tacitly agree not to cross.  What is to be more feared – the bars on your cell door or the Person who has the power to throw it open and invite you to step beyond your self-contained world?

     Fear constrains but it doesn’t demand inner change!  We are accustomed to our world.  Like the people in the Gerasenes we have reached an accommodation with the violence and anxieties of the world.  As long as it stays on the periphery most of the time we can live with those tormented by its demons.  The world hasn’t changed.  

     What do we do when we meet up with His Word?  How do we handle the Gospel’s demand for inner change?  Sadly and all too often we beg His message to leave us.  The world we know for all its fearfulness and trouble is statistically bearable.  Chances are we will escape its ravages.  For many this is preferable to certain innner change!  Sadly the demons of yesterday and today have a reach far beyond those unfortunate ones they immediately possess.

     The call of the Gospel is for inner change; “Do not conform<sup class="crossreference" value="(C)”> any longer to the pattern of this world,<sup class="crossreference" value="(D)”> but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)  Jesus demands that we leave our inner prisons through the door that He has opened wide; “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  (Matthew 16:24) 

     Change we must.

    Praise the Lord!

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