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, NIV 1984).
My Musings – The whole town came out to see Him. Why? They had been told what He had done for the two demon-possessed men. But once they had seen Him, “they pleaded with him to leave their region.” A bigger why? Apparently, they came out to see Him in the first place driven by curiosity more than anything.
Maybe, like Isaiah, it was out of Holy fear. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:5, NIV 1984). Sensing their unworthiness of the One the demons clearly recognized as “the Son of God.“
Perhaps, like Felix, it was more of a worldly fear. “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” (Acts 24:25, NIV 1984). Preferring the life they had become accustomed to and not wanting to change, even if it meant putting up with the inconvenience of demon-possessed men roaming the region.
Today, more and more people of the world are demanding (not pleading) that anything or anyone connected with Christianity leave the “region” (schools, government buildings, town squares, etc.). Jesus did leave the region. But He left behind two formerly demon-possessed men whose life’s had been forever changed by an encounter with the Son of God. Wouldn’t you love to hear Paul Harvey (google him), tell you “the rest of the story?” We’ll have to wait for eternity to hear it. But we get to live the rest of the story in our time and region.
My Advice – We are all unworthy of a relationship with God. But He invites us through His Son, nonetheless. We might just find that it is worth the inconvenience of turning away from worldly pursuits and pleasures. Which camp are you in now? Unworthy or inconvenient? Only the latter will really leave you “ruined.” Invite His Son into the “region” of your hear. Don’t plead with Him to leave.
Inspired by Pastor Kevin Rutledge’s (First Baptist Church of Sycamore, Illinois) sermon, May 15, 2022.