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Sunday, June 27, 2010

6/28/10- Mark 5:9-20 Saving pigs or saving people?

9 Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many." 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them." 13 He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. 18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

(Traditional site of Gerasene Pig Cliff- N. Galilee- the lake came up to this area in ancient times)

How many times does Jesus run into people who prefer the status quo versus helping people.  The Pharisees would rather Jesus keep a Sabbath than heal a lame man on God's holy day.  Here, the gentile group prove they have the same kind of thought pattern.  They were much more concerned about their pigs than they were about the man healed from his many demons.  When Ideals get in the way of helping and healing, then such ideals need to be modified and give way to the way of love.  Today there are those who would elevate animals over people, or elevate their political ideals over helping others.  The other thing we might learn is that once Jesus has helped you, he invites you to go and tell others.  It is the same today.  Whatever help and kindness God has given us is a reason to share what we know about God with others.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to follow you, listening to your voice.  Give me grace to elevate love over idealism.

John Calvin abridged: There must have been good reasons why this man should have endured so severe a punishment as to have an army of devils, so to speak, dwelling within him. What compassion then was it, to rescue from so many deaths a man who was more than a thousand times ruined!  It was a magnificent display of the power of Christ., that by his voice not one devil, but a great multitude of devils, were suddenly driven out. "Out of the area" (or "not into the abyss" Lk.)- As the devils have no other object
than to prowl among men, like lions in search of prey, they are grieved at being plunged into the deep, where they will have no opportunity of injuring and ruining men. "Into the pigs"- This passage shows also the foolish trifling of some of the irreligious, who
imagine that the devils are not actually existing spirits, but merely the depraved affections of human beings: for how could covetousness, ambition, cruelty, and deceit, enter into the swine? Let us learn also, that unclean spirits (as they are devoted to destruction) are the enemies of humankind; so that they plunge all whom they can into the same destruction with themselves. 17 "leave their region"- Wicked people perceive God as judge and therefore ask that he leave their presence.  It is a mark of great insensibility that the loss of their swine gives them more alarm than the salvation of their soul would give them joy.

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