Mark 5:17 – And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.
Imagine living in a society where poverty generally ruled. When business was good, you were still confronted by powerful forces that fought against you. That was the situation for the people of Gadara. Think with me for a moment. They lived on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. Across from them were the Jews, and for the sake of our discussion, we must remember that the Jews had no use for pork. To them, it was unclean. Yet, for the people of Gadara, it was obviously an open market for them. In the place where Jesus delivered the demoniac of Gadara was a herd of swine more than 2,000 strong. For that many swine to be in one herd, they had to be under someone’s control, and that meant someone was intending to make money from them. But remember, the Jews had nothing to do with swine, so that meant the people of Gadara were likely operating in a difficult market situation. But in the midst of all this, there was the ever-present terror of the demoniac of Gadara. No one could pass that way without encountering him at some level. Chains and fetters could not hold him, and he was, at the least, a major nuisance to passers-by. With all that controversy in their country, you would think the people of Gadara would have been pleased for the man to be delivered, and at the least, thankful to the Lord for doing such a marvelous work. But that was not the case.
Jesus had upset their status quo, and they did not like that. Because of that, they urged Him to depart from their region. The delivered man wanted to go with Jesus, but He told him to stay and minister to his friends. Imagine being told to minister the love of God in a region that had just rejected God. But that should not be unknown to us today. Jesus still heals and delivers. People are still being set free. But when that happens, it often upsets the status quo of the region. What happens when a prostitute, junkie, or drunkard are saved? The pimps, drug dealers, and purveyors of alcohol see their business diminish. The don’t want Jesus in their business. I have personally had guns, knives, and other weapons used to threaten me for that very reason. Well, they may not want Jesus in their community, but that is precisely where you and I have been sent. You and I can be a friend to sinners just as Jesus was. But be assured, my friend, the response of people around you may not be what you expected. The Lord may use you for a great healing, deliverance, or miracle, but the salvation of one person may be viewed by an unbeliever as an attack on his business, economy, or livelihood. Still we remain as a witness to the love, mercy, grace, and goodness of God.
Manna for Today – Mark 5:1-20; Mark 6:5