Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When Pigs Flew...Sort Of

Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region. Matthew 8:34

Jesus’ arrival prompted an unusual response from the townsfolk. They asked him to leave. What did He do to become a persona non grata in their eyes?

After a hair raising boat ride on the Galilean sea, Jesus and the disciples landed in the area of Gadara. Their ship had been caught in a storm so severe the boat almost capsized. Jesus would have slept through the whole ordeal except twelve panic stricken men interrupted His nap. They feared for their lives. He called their faith little, not non-existent, then rebuked the torrent. Immediately calm was restored.

Two demon possessed men constituted the Welcome Wagon for that region. Dangerous and violent, no one could pass by them without suffering serious harm. Immediately they questioned the Lord’s intentions. Did He come to torture and afflict them? The demons recognized Jesus and feared their fate in the hands of God. Could the storm at sea have been a pre-emptive strike to prevent Jesus’ arrival? Hmmmm.

With the wind knock out of their sails, so to speak, the demons ask God for a favor! It was a forgone conclusion that they would have to leave. Would Jesus allow them to occupy a nearby herd of pigs? He commanded them, “Go.” For a brief moment the crazy pigs were airborne. In true demonic fashion that ruins everything it touches, the herd dropped like a rock into the sea and drowned. When the residents learned the swine’s fate and that the two mad men were healed they reacted quickly. “Get out of town,” was their response.

Gadara was home to a large Gentile population. It’s very possible that the owner of the herd wasn’t Jewish. The fact that two previously demon-possessed, insane men were now in their right minds was overshadowed by the loss of the of swine. Were the pigs too high a price to pay for the restoration of the men?

Suppose those had been your herd. Through no fault of your own, your livelihood just evaporated. How would you respond to the sight of the two healed men? Would you be angry and upset? Their gain was your loss.

I’d like to think that if that were me, I’d be happy for them. Their restoration should be more important that my loss of income. Honestly, I’m not sure that would be my first reaction. I’d want to know, “What about me? Who’s gonna compensate me?” Shallow, but true.

The bible never indicates that Jesus or anyone else reimbursed the owner for the dead animals. Like the man whose roof was torn open to allow a crippled man to get to Jesus, the cost of someone’s redemption was borne by another individual. If you had owned those pigs, how would you have felt?

1 comment:

  1. Mary: I am unsure how I would have felt. We'd all like to think that we would look at that event as something positive. But, because we are human-had it actually happened to us-we might not act as noble as we think we would.