_All the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighbourhood.” (Matthew 8:34)
In today’s Gospel passage, the two demoniacs felt offended by the mere presence of Jesus in their territory. They cried: “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come to torment us before the time?” Notice that these were the exact words the demoniac spoke in the synagogue (Cf. Mark 1:24, 5:7). Why do demons try to challenge Jesus? The same reason they try to challenge the children of light; to intimidate and put fear in us.
Once the demons noticed that Jesus was not afraid, they started begging. “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine.” As a child of God, you have authority over the forces of darkness. If you know your true worth before God, you will never be afraid of demons. Jesus gave heed to their plea to teach us that the life of one human is more valuable than a whole herd of pigs.
It baffles me that Jesus would allow the spirits to enter the pigs instead of destroying them. This means the demons asked a valid question: “Have you come to torment us before the time?” There is a time for this final destruction which hasn’t come yet. Otherwise, there would no longer be any demons in existence.
Jesus hinted at this when He said: “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he brings seven other spirits eviler than himself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” (Matthew 12:43-45). This is why we must let God take complete possession of us and never give any room to the devil.
The people’s reaction to what happened speaks volumes about their love for money. Rather than rejoice at the deliverance of the demoniacs, they begged Jesus to leave their neighbourhood. They probably assumed that no livestock might be spared if Jesus cured all the demoniacs in their city. Has it ever occurred to you that, like these people, we kick Jesus out of our lives because of our pursuit of (or perceived loss of) material riches?
Just as Jesus accepted the plea of the demons and sent them to the pigs, Jesus agreed to walk away from their town peacefully when they asked Him to leave. God will never force His way into your life if you do not make Him welcome. I mean, we all have a choice, to be possessed by the Holy Spirit or to be possessed by evil spirits such as lust, materialism (greed), wrath, pride, envy, gluttony, sloth, etc.
Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, may I never be so blind as to push you aside in any aspect of my life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Bible Study: Genesis 21:5,8-20, Ps. 34:7-8,10-13, Matthew 8:28-34).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu