Summary: Jesus comes to the unclean and lonely place and brings redemption, deliverance and forgiveness, he can do that today of us if we let him
Do you believe?
Peter Pan implored all to believe in fairies to save Tinker Bell, Do you believe in fairies, me I feel that they things of fiction really. From today’s reading I would ask you a more pertinent question, do you believe in demons or do you feel they are the work of fiction? Bertrand Russell in his book “Why I am not a Christian”, referred to this incident of the demon processed man and the pigs as one of the reasons he rejected the Lord Jesus as he judged this whole incident as unbelievable. This incident is reported three times in the new testament, in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke which is sort of underling the importance by God! Were are not talking about the Hollywood Buffy the vampire slayer type beasts, were are talking about foul sprits that seek our damnation and destruction, creatures that would rejoice in causing pain and suffering, that live on lies and deceit and all things unclean. I’ll tell you loud a clear they exist, I know it is not popular in church to speak of such things, but read the gospels and they are constantly referred to, they being demons and demonic influence are still very much with us, but do not be afraid, I have some good news.
Many in the church today might not want to think of demons as a clear and present enemy, and that friends is precisely what the evil horde wants, because the only force that can stop them in their tracks operates through Christ centred believers. Before we revisit today’s text, consider the state of the world, consider the state of society of the things people do – genocide, abuse of children, torture and the cruellest of murders, Rwanda, Cambodia, Kosovo, Iraq, world wars, men bowing before their political gods and serving their material needs, hating their neighbours, have not the forces of spiritual wickedness been let loose? A day does not seem to go by without some terrible and heinous crime being reported awful acts against children, babies and the innocent, I believe this is the work of the demonic, War, hate, self destruction, self loathing, self mutilation, anger, rage and all these things have roots in demonic influence. What about the ever growing interest in physic phenomenon, mediums, spiritualists, horoscopes, witchcraft and the like, these are all rooted in the demonic realms and are the paths to darkness and death. I do not wish to scare or bring fear, be strong be courageous
Lets walk together, come with me to the region of the Gerasenes, perhaps this is a small village called Khersa on the eastern shore of the lake of Galilee, a steep slope of one side. The boat jars as it beaches, step forth with Jesus, feet touching the waves then the firm sand, not the most scenic of places a graveyard in the distance, gapping holes in a cliff once a village now left to owls and wolves, a place unclean to the Jewish people. The disciples must have been wondering why, can’t we go to a mainstream place for once, what good can come in this place, this region is shunned by the Jewish people, they rear pigs here, this Decapolis, the ten towns of the unclean as the Jews judged. No Sabbath rest here, no hope of Messiah, this is a pagan land under the boot and rule of Roman legions, raising pigs for salted pork to feed the soldiers that oppressed. Jesus comes to an unclean land to the very heart of its unclean nature, a burial ground, to the heart of darkness, to the Jew a place of contamination, Lord lets us go make haste away. This is a place of no hope, away from the adoring great crowds hanging on every word, far from the mount no need to feed thousands here.
Then you see him, naked, bruised, bleeding running, more like a looping animal moving fast and erratically running to Jesus, homing directly at the Lord, broken shackles hanging limply from bleeding wrists, what are the disciples doing are they rushing to protect the Lord or scattering, what would you do flee or fight? Before you can think he is upon you. You look to Jesus he does not run, he turns and faces the man was that a smile on his face, doesn’t he see the madman, he sees but he knows this is a salvation time, a scaled down model of what is to come, run oh prodigal run fast the Fathers arms await you they are open wide come. A man living in this blighted place, day and night spent in torment, bruised, cut, the very forces of hell were trying to stop him running to Jesus, but he came, running to Christ a fearfully ruined man at the end of hope runs to arms open wide