Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Man
26So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes,c across the lake from Galilee. 27As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in a cemetery outside the town.
28As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29For Jesus had already commanded the evild spirit to come out of him. This spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was placed under guard and put in chains and shackles, he simply broke them and rushed out into the wilderness, completely under the demon’s power.
30Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”
32There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons begged him to let them enter into the pigs.
So Jesus gave them permission. 33Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned.
We will save the end of this story for tomorrow. Today we will look at Jesus interacting with the demon. Perhaps all of this is wrong, but it is what I am reading today. Holy Spirit help us!
Who, or what, is this demon? Demons are the absolute enemies of God. Most scholars think they are angels who have chosen to turn away from God. They are destined to spend eternity in the pit of hell. They have become, as far as I can tell from scripture, entirely evil.
And yet, Jesus does not treat the demon with hatred. He is firm, and 100% sure of his authority. Jesus never appears to struggle with the demon or have type of battle with him (them). But Jesus also shows no sign of hatred. None. How can that be?
I will venture to say that you cannot act in a way that is not true to your nature, and God is entirely love. If you have ever doubted, this scripture appears to make it as clear as it could ever be. In my humanity, I think God would be a better God if he hated the demons, but it doesn’t look like he does. Perhaps if he chose to hate any living creature, he wouldn’t be the loving God he is.
And how does this affect my life. It’s pretty obvious I am not so loving that I am incapable of hate. I suppose that defines what it is I am called to work on in this story.
Holy Spirit, displace ALL the hatred in me, even of myself, perhaps especially of myself. Help me to deal with the demons of my life and my choices with your authority, conviction and certainty without hating myself or others because of our humanity.