Then people went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man the demons had departed from, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Meanwhile, the eyewitnesses reported to them how the demon-possessed man was delivered. Then all the people of the Gerasene region asked Him to leave them, because they were gripped by great fear. So getting into the boat, He returned.
Unbelievers are often more comfortable with godless insanity than God-breathed sanity. Can these people truly be less afraid of the evil brought on by an indwelling enemy than the power of Christ to extricate such an enemy and bring His peace? The power of God over our enemy and His ability to change even the worst sinner is terrifying to those who are willingly walking in opposition to truth. We see it every day. It expresses itself in different ways but this irrational fear of God and His power rattles people. They are much more accustomed to his absence and often beg Him to leave their presence. Notice that Jesus refuses to force Himself upon them. He honors their request and leaves them in their sin, unbelief and fear. This must have been the saddest day in the Gadarenes. Jesus came to their village and they asked Him to leave out of abject fear of the good change He brought to their town. It sounds very much like our nation today.
The question we must be asking ourselves as believers is: “Do we fear the change that Jesus can bring into our lives? Do we fear the cost?” The cost can be high – just ask those in places where persecution is institutional and rampant. His grace has power and it will impact all aspects of our lives and the lives of those around us when it is received in faith. When Jesus speaks and we submit our life to His voice, the change can be frightening. Hopefully, it is frighteningly wonderful, as in the case of the previously demon possessed man. The power of Christ always impacts both the healed and the observers. May we be those who respond in faith as the now ‘demonless’ man, not those who respond in fear.
The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
Have mercy on us, Father, for we are only worthless slaves made worthy by the power of Christ.