Wednesday, September 19, 2007

If Jesus came to my town today...

I was reading through Matthew 8 this morning. (Shocking, I know.) In the last part of the chapter, Jesus drove demons out of 2 men who were possessed. In the story, the demons ask to be sent into a herd of pigs that were feeding nearby. Jesus does it, and the pigs go nuts and drown in a lake. The men return to normal.

The thing that gets me is the reaction of the town. Verse 34 says, "The whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with them to leave their region." What?!? They wanted him to leave? After he had healed 2 of their people?

I think it's a great lesson: we humans will put up with almost anything--illness, wars, arguing, even demon possession--as long as we don't have to stay in the presence of holiness. The power of God was so scary that they would rather have had 2 demon possessed guys running around their town.

It reminds me of an old Oak Ridge Boys song from way, way back. It was called, "Would They Love Him Down in Shreveport." (I can't find a good link to the song, but it's out there, I'm sure.) The basic premise of the song is that Jesus may not be all that welcome in today's America. Even in "religious" places like Utah and the South.

True godliness is more powerful and less predictable then we realize. I do wonder if I would really want Jesus to live in my city. Would I find Him a nuisance, or threatening? What if he tore down some of the idols I want to keep? Something to think about...

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