Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Skewed priorities

"Swine Driven Into the Sea" by James Tissot

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Matthew 8:18-34

TO CHEW ON:
“And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus…” - Matthew 8:34

Just prior to our focus verse, we see Jesus do something truly amazing—liberate two demon-possessed men (Matthew 8:28-33). These men have, till now, spooked all passersby. No one even comes close to the tomb-caves where they live because they’re too scary.

With a word Jesus frees them from the demonic spirits that have been controlling them. He gives those spirits permission to enter a nearby herd of pigs. True to their destructive nature, the demons cause the pigs to stampede to their briny deaths in the sea.

Then the swine-herders rush back to the city with word of what has happened. The whole city comes out and we (at least I) expect them to welcome with open arms Jesus, this Man who works wonders, who frees enslaved brothers. We expect another Samaritan Woman saga, when the whole town, responding to the woman’s testimony, becomes receptive to Jesus (John 4:28-42).

But no. The end of our story isn’t like that. The last part of Matthew 8:34 is a whiplash of surprise: “And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region” (emphasis added).

Oh no. Lost pigs are obviously more important to them than found men. We ask, how could they be that way—begging someone who has freed these men to leave? Obviously their priorities are skewed.

Yet, am I, are we so different? Who wins when we sense that introducing others to Jesus by responding to their needs will impinge on our time, our plans, our bank accounts, our peaceful tidy homes?  

PRAYER:
Dear Jesus, please help my life to be an open door to people meeting You, not a closed door sending You away because of my self-centeredness. Amen.

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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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