June 19

Luke 8:30-36

“Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned.” vs. 37

When the people saw that the demonic had been healed, initially they were stunned. They’d gotten used to dealing with his periodic outbursts, and they knew what to do in response. But as they came from their city and the surrounding countryside and saw him having a casual conversation with Jesus–with his clothes on–they were startled, and then they were seized with fear. What more did Jesus have up his sleeve? So they asked him to leave. Sometimes that’s still our response when Jesus shows up in our communities, and people are changed. Many times we’d like people to just stay the way they’ve always been. We even water down the gospel and tell people not to take it too seriously–those bible stories about Jesus can’t possibly be true. That’s not how things really happen in this world. We reason that it’s better for people not to expect too much from faith–we don’t want to raise expectations. Life with all its frailties will go on pretty much as it has–after all we can’t expect miracles–and it’s best if we just get used to the way things are. And then the Spirit blows into town, Jesus shows up, and lives are changed. It’s a good thing–but it’s really uncomfortable, and some can’t wait for Jesus to get in his boat and go away again.

Thought for the Day: Why are changed people such a pain?

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