Matthew 8:28-34 (VOICE) 28 Eventually Jesus came to the other side of the sea, to the region of the Gadarenes. There, two men who lived near the tombs and were possessed by demons came out to the seaside and met Jesus. They were flailing about, so violent that they obstructed the path of anyone who came their way. Demons (screaming at Jesus): 29 Why are You here? Have You come to torture us even before the judgment day, O Son of God? 30 A ways off, though still visible, was a large herd of pigs, eating. Demons: 31 If You cast us out of the bodies of these two men, do send us into that herd of pigs! Jesus: 32 Very well then, go! And the demons flew out of the bodies of the two flailing men, they set upon the pigs, and every last pig rushed over a steep bank into the sea and drowned. 33 The pig herders (totally undone, as you can imagine) took off; they headed straight for town, where they told everyone what they’d just seen—even about the demon-possessed men. 34 And so the whole town came out to see Jesus for themselves. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to leave their area.
All of us have heard the saying, ‘be careful what you wish for’. Our gospel passage today is a spiritual embodiment of that phrase. If you had asked the townspeople if they wanted rid of the two crazy people causing trouble in the cemetery, you would have gotten a resounding ‘Yes!’.
And yet, when Jesus take care of the problem, healing the two men in the process, the townspeople aren’t so happy. In fact, they are so upset that they ask Jesus to leave. Why? Because the change – and the healing – came at a cost. It cost the town their herd of pigs, now dead in the water.
A similar thing happens in our relationship with Jesus. Sitting and thinking about it, we would all agree that there are changes we would like to make in our lives. There are habits we wish we could break, habits we wish we could start. Unhealthy relationships that need ending or changing. Saying we want the change or the healing is the easy part.
The more difficult part comes when we begin to recognize the cost of that change, the price we will have to pay to heal and grow. This is Jesus was are dealing with, so the cost is always worth it – in fact the things we are usually asked to give up are things that aren’t healthy for us. But, no matter how ‘good’ the deal, how much we need the healing, we struggle to accept the cost.
That is because usually, the cost of spiritual health and healing, and redirection into the path God has called us to involves giving up control and seeking to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Count the cost, embrace the healing touch of Jesus Christ in your life and be transformed.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Lord, help us to let go of control and be willing to change, so that you might heal us, restore us, and transform us into who you created us to be. Amen