Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Overcome with Fear

The Book of Luke.  Chapter 8. Verses 26 thru 39. 
Jesus and his disciples have just finished teaching and performing miracles to countless crowds when Jesus decides to head across the lake to an area where he was not known.  Upon reaching the shore, he encounters a man who is full of demons.  The man has been possessed by all kinds of evil for probably all of his life.  He is a danger to himself and to the community and is therefore kept in chains (around his hands and his feet) and under the watch of guards.  Who knows what kind of harm he could do to the women and children of the community.  He is naked most of the time.  When the demons can no longer handle being bound up, they give him strength to break free.  Once free, the man runs into the dessert where he then finds himself alone, scared, and unclothed.  His life is literally held captive by man, and by spirits.  Jesus speaks to the demons in him, finds out he is called "Legion" because there are so many of them inside him.  Although they plead with him to save themselves from the torture of hell, Jesus casts the demons into some pigs (who drown themselves)  and deals with the man. He is healed.  His life is new!  No more chains.  No more danger.  No more nakedness.  Freedom, peace, and purpose are now in his future! [I know this is a long one from me, but keep reading.]

The people from the community come out to see what Jesus has done.  He's healed the crazy man!  The man is sitting as Jesus' feet.  "Clothed and in his right mind" and the towns people were

So much fear, that they pleaded with Jesus to leave.  They didn't want what he had to offer. They'd seen his work in the healing of the man that they knew how to deal with and they couldn't take it.  They knew  how to manage, hide, bind, and protect the evil that was inside the man.  Now there was something about this change that they couldn't take!  Although it was seemingly better, it was change, and they didn't like it.  The change caused them to be OVERCOME WITH FEAR.  

As I read this story a few weeks ago, I though it was odd that the people were so afraid.  I mean, Jesus had made things better, right?  Who wants a crazy guy running around naked hurting people?  But what the people were afraid of was change, and power.  They knew that if Jesus stuck around, things would never be the same because he had GREAT POWER!  That is often how I deal with Jesus too.  I say I want him to change things [soften my heart for instance] but then when he does [like when I start to tear up in church or care deeply about someone's pain] I get scared.  I pull back.  I wipe my face off, suck it in, and try my hardest to remain the same.  Because I know, just as the people in the village did, that Jesus comes with GREAT POWER and if you let him in, even a little bit, life will never be the same again.  Please Jesus, give my heart courage to change. 


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