Pigs and Priorities
“Yours–not mine–is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory… and I am grateful. Amen” (Walter Brueggemann).
Read LUKE 8:26-39
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“This man shows how helpless one can be without Jesus, especially when shackled and stripped of sanity. But his turnaround indicates the startling contrast that emerges when one is freed from such enslavement” (Darrell L. Bock).
We have seen a dramatic demonstration of Jesus’ power over nature and now Luke describes his authority over overt forces of evil. Jesus was confronted by a fearsome sight. A demonized man, naked, filthy and extremely distressed, threw himself at his feet. A cemetery resident, shunned because of his extreme violence, he had a fearsome reputation. However, in all his extremity, he understood more than the disciples, for he knew Jesus’ identity (28). He recognized him not solely for his power but also in terms of his person. He was the Son of God.
We are not told why Jesus granted the demons’ request (32), although the impact provides some clues (34). Supernatural power was clearly at work here. With one word the demons are expelled from the man and enter the pigs, which in turn stampede headlong into the lake. God’s ultimate authority over Satan is obviously vested in Jesus, something important to remember when circumstances appear to contradict it. This troubled man is more important to Jesus than the pigs–a view seemingly not shared by people around him! We are told that the whole region (37) was desperate to get Jesus away from there, presumably because of the threat to their livelihoods. Jesus had shaken things up by bringing the problem out of the graveyard and solving it, potentially risking their material well-being. These highly unsettling events exposed what was truly important to these people.
What is most important to us? What shapes our priorities? As Jesus gets stuck into the messiness of people’s lives he calls us to join him, to shun the comfort of safe predictable church life and material ease and to accompany him in the adventure of ushering in his kingdom.
How do you respond to people who are troubled and disturbed? How does your church respond to such people? Are they welcomed or are they excluded?
Lord, I pray for those who are troubled. May they find safety and peace in Your presence.
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