Freedom vs Fear. In our Gospel lesson this week, we find both of these factors in play. Jesus and the disciples have crossed Galilee in their boat and have put ashore in the country of the Gerasenes. As they set foot on the shore they come across a man who has been possessed by a whole legion of demons and whose life has been destroyed. On meeting Jesus, the demons are filled with fear and beg Jesus not to send them back to the abyss. Instead they ask Jesus to allow them to leave the man and enter into a nearby herd of pigs, who promptly run down the hillside and drown themselves in the lake. In the presence of the Holy One of God, evil flees and the man is set free.
With the possible exception of the pigs and the pig herders, you might expect those who witnessed this extraordinary event to be filled with joy, but Luke tells us that exactly the opposite happens. Instead of rejoicing they are filled with fear and ask Jesus to leave them. Confronted with holiness, the ungodliness ruling their own lives causes them to be afraid. Rather than accept the One who could set them free from all of their fears, they choose to remain in darkness and are unable to face the light.
For the one who has been set free, life has begun again and he begs to stay with Jesus for ever. But the light that Jesus gives is light that he wants us to share and he sends the reborn man on his way. ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.’ Luke 8:39. What will you choose to do with the freedom Jesus has won for you? Will your response be one of fear or will you hold it up for all to see?
Till next time. Andrew
This week's readings;
1 Kings 19:1-15
Galatians 3:10-14, 23-29
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