Wednesday: July 1, 2020
Matthew 8:34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.
Two sides of a coin could not have been any better at creating the kind of contrast we can generate from our text today in comparison with some other accounts in scripture. At a time when we would describe Jesus as the ‘current trend’, with many cities, officials and individuals seeking for his attention; He arrives in the land of the Gadarenes. Although uninvited, we might have expected them to take advantage of His presence, but we see the exact opposite: ‘they implored Him to leave their region’
There were two situations that influenced this outcome: the restoration of the demon possessed men and the loss of the herd of swine as a direct consequence of this. Did the people of the city of Gadaras implore Jesus to depart because they had lost material possession or did they feel unworthy to host a man of His calibre?
We see some semblance to the words of Peter when he first encountered Jesus ‘Depart from me Oh Lord, for I am a sinful man’ (Luke 5:8).
When Jesus drew closer, the people advanced forward only to literally ask Him to step back- to depart. Beloved, moments like that happen in our lives too when we think the safest and most secure place for us is ‘under a rock’ and away from everything else. Away from the loving arms of God, his soft and unwavering gaze or the gentle and peaceful cover of His protective wings. We deem ourselves unsuitable and unfit to host His presence. Yet, He comes to us.
My dear, God draws near to us in spite of who we think we are because He knows us best- He knows our true frame. It breaks His heart to see His longing for us disregarded because we prefer rather to have Him around when we are at our very best, at our peak, not in our worst state. Yet, truth is we need Him the whole way for without Him, that peak really stays out of our reach.