Friday 02 September 2016

Bible Book:

"Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighbourhood." (v. 34)

Matthew 8:28 - 9:1 Friday 2 September 2016

Psalm: Psalm 146


With every outrage of humanity's behaviour the arguments rage:Did they do what they did through illness or through evil, andtherefore, planned intent? In some cases the answer is clear, inother cases difficult to define.

The debate about demon possession and mental health issues is onesuch debate. The lines are not easy to define from the stories ofJesus that we read. Suffice to say that medical knowledge andunderstanding were not as advanced in Jesus' day.

From a background of working in the field of mental health for atime I know that mental health issues are very real, verydifficult, hard to pin down and are only reluctantly shared with awider society for fear of rejection.

But what interests me most in today's passage is the reaction ofthe general population to the events that unfold before them.

Anger I could understand - they had just lost a good part of theirincome when the herd of pigs threw themselves into the water andprobably drowned.

Delight that the undesirable wandering the tombs and the edges ofthe community had gone I would see as reasonable.

But, Matthew tells us (as do Mark and Luke in parallel passages),they reacted with fear - wanting Jesus to go away.

Were the events of the day too much for them to cope with? Didthey recognise the power and authority embodied by Jesus and wonder'Who next?' - looking at each other? Or was it simply that this wasa threat to their security and everyday living upsetting the statusquo?

To Ponder

  • Whatever their reasoning, the people's response was fear. Whatfear do you harbour within yourself - perhaps you are evenunwilling to give it a name?
  • What is the worst that could happen if you named and dealt withthat fear?
  • How could you see God helping you to 'name and shame' your fearso that you could be free?
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