“Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region”.
Mk 5:17 NIV
Whilst many people spend a lot of time complaining about how bad things are, very few are really happy when any social change occurs. We all easily get set in our ways and find it difficult to adjust to anything other than what we have always known and done. Many conflicts took place when “songs of praise” or choruses were introduced into the regular church worship. And some left rather than change!
We might have thought, when Jesus arrived in the region of the Gerasenes and healed the man with the demons, that the people of the area would welcome him with open arms, make him a local hero or mayor or something. They didn’t. They asked him to leave. One reason was he had disturbed their status quo and caused a large financial loss to the pig-farming community. Nobody could weigh the advantage of the healing of one man against the loss of all the pigs. Jesus disturbed their settled ways and system. He had to go.
He also disturbed the religion of contemporary Israel. Calling into question the trade in animals in the temple in Jerusalem he overturned the tables of the money-changers there and threatened to turn the religion of laws into a thing of the heart and spirit. He had to go. Those living off the trade stirred up the city until they crucified him.
He is bad news today when he disturbs our set ideas or commercial interests, our routines, comforts, financial assets or our “peace”, in whatever area that peace may be. Maybe, like those people, we are prepared to sacrifice the benefits of his salvation for our ways and ideas?
Lord, help me always to appreciate your disturbing presence.