Demon Possessed Men Healed and a Plea to Leave the Region: Matthew 8:28-34

Demon possessed or Jesus? These people later in the chapter must have preferred demon possessed. With just a few words Jesus had annihilated what was known and familiar to them. They pleaded with him to leave their region because they were afraid, more afraid of him than they had been of the demon possessed men he healed.

Here was the real God, and they were terrified. Terrified because his power was real, he wasn’t convenient, they couldn’t control him with ritual or sacrifice, and he might ask for some life changes. They preferred demon possessed to Jesus. They preferred what they had known to what they  now faced.

Perhaps if he hadn’t performed a miracle and demonstrated his power, perhaps if he had told them some comforting stories, or performed some convenient miracles that hadn’t upset their expectations or livelihoods, they would have asked him to stay awhile. Jesus was not convenient. Only a counterfeit Jesus is convenient.

Lots of people prefer a convenient and counterfeit Jesus, one they can mix with the rest of their household gods. I have a Hindu friend who keeps a little statue of Jesus in the closet with the rest of his collection of gods because he wants to cover all his bases.

In the developed Western society, counterfeit Jesus’ are so common that it sometimes hard to find the real one. Regions of the world not familiar with Jesus who can more clearly see the power of the real Jesus are often threatened by him. According to The Voice of the Martyrs On Christmas day, ‘Radical Hindus attacked a group of Christians who had gathered at a believer’s house for prayer on Christmas day. Pastor Arjun, 24, who leads the Ebenezer Indian Pentecost Church, and several other members of the church had gathered at the home of a 48-year-old widow. Shortly after beginning their prayer meeting, about 20 radical Hindus raided the house, grabbing Bibles from the Christians’ hands and ripping them apart while shouting and cursing at the group for destroying the Hindu culture. The Hindus also called local police, accusing the believers of “forced conversions to Christianity.” Police arrested Pastor Arjun and five other Christians, and they seized 20 Bibles from the home as evidence. The six Christians were released on bail the following day but still face prosecution.’

These people could recognize the real Jesus among his followers and they wanted the Christians to leave because Jesus was a threat to their culture.

I can only have a relationship with the real Jesus and only he can keep me from being demon possessed. Only he can give me the power to stand up to those who would prefer a counterfeit Jesus and being demon possessed.

Read Matthew 8:28-34

  1. Is there something I prefer more than Jesus, some reason I would ask him to leave?
  2. What culture am I immersed in that Jesus threatens?
  3. Am I using a counterfeit Jesus to cover my bases while I continue to just do what I want?
  4. Have I avoided the real Jesus because he might ask me to change something?
  5. Am I using my religion or religious activities to avoid a relationship with the real Jesus?

Passage for Meditation

And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region. Matthew 8:34b

Prayer

Help me to never place my friends, family, culture, or expectations ahead of you. Help me not to settle for what is known and familiar, but to seek the joy and peace that you promise if I will be obedient to you. Help me to obey you. Help me to know the real you through the character of Jesus as Lord and Savior.

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