Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The two demoniacs

Just finished reading about the two demoniacs in Mat 8:28-34. There is an obvious point: Jesus was not afraid of dealing with demon possessed men, and as Son of God he had the power and authority to exorcise the men. This is what Matthew was communicating.

So, going outside the "point" of the story is usually a bad idea. And my next musings are no exception. Beyond this point is my opinion and personal reflection and does not add to the point mentioned above.

I have questions. These two guys lived in a cemetary, and they were so violent no one could pass by there. But Jesus had the audacity to. They thought he was going to torture them. And it seems they sensed he was going to exorcise them. They didn't ask for this, and I wonder even if they could have. The demons were expelled into swine who ran into the water. The ones feeding (the pigs) lost their herd. Since swine are not kosher, why were people feeding them? These had to be non Jews. They ran into town and told what happened, and the people "implored" or "encouraged" Jesus to leave.

The story's focus is the exorcism. But we have no idea what the reaction of the exorcised was. And what about the sentiment of the pig feeders? If we go with "implore," that makes it sound as if the people were upset with Jesus either for killing the pig feeders' pigs or for casting out the demons in the two men.

If we go with "encouraged him to leave," this makes it sound like the people were supportive of what Jesus had done, but realized he had stirred up something that would harm him and/or them. Therefore, they encouraged him to leave to avoid hurt and violence. If they thought Jesus would be harmed, they did not recognize him as the Son of God like the demoniacs had.

There is nothing to suggest they felt they would be harmed as a result of what Jesus had done. But they lived among the demon possessed and felt no harm. Were they so used to bad spiritual stuff that they weren't afraid for themselves? This is what I think was the case.

I think the people of G (there is some speculation about the actually name of the place) were complacent with darkness around them. The pig feeders (probably evil themselves) wouldn't take on Jesus head on and so went into town to raise up a mob. The people obliged and felt that if the whole town went with the pig feeders they could convince Jesus to leave, not for his sake, but because they felt threatened. Light had come into the darkness and the Light was rejected.

Before we think poorly of the people of G, we should probably see ourselves as either the violent men or the pig feeders or the town mob. We may not be demon possessed. But I bet we're hanging out with the pigs trying to keep them healthy to consume. And if we really think about it, we would rather the light stay away from us. Sure, we may say we are followers of Jesus. But he entered the darkness alone. It's a place we're not willing to go; our own darkness.

We too would rather strongly encourage Jesus to leave us alone with our violence and our baseness.

No comments: