When Pigs Fly & Men Complain

No one could subdue the man, not even with shackles and chains, and no one was able to confine him anymore.

He was an exile, a social misfit, an outcast from polite (even impolite) society. He cut himself and beat himself and probably soiled himself as he ran around naked. The only people who didn’t mind his antisocial antics were dead: he lived in the graveyard, likely because there the neighbors never complained and he needn’t bag his leaves.

He was a spiritual zombie — alive by the barest of definitions and surrounded by death without and within. He was in emotional, physical and social desolation.

Then Jesus came along (Mark 5).

With a word, Jesus evicted the man’s demons, who took up residence in a herd of pigs which flew over the cliff and drowned in the sea. When the people heard it, they came to Jesus and saw. Not Jesus, but the shackle-breaking, flesh-cutting, mountain-moaning, tomb-dwelling man, who was now sitting there, clothed, and right as rain.

Seeing this caused the people to fear. What did they fear? The formerly frenetic man — who had a front row seat to the events — had no fear at all.

Did the people fear that the shackle-breaker, flesh-cutter, mountain-moaner, and tomb-dweller was in cahoots with Jesus and at any moment, without the warning appropriate for polite society, would stand up, disrobe and go berserk again?

Did they fear Jesus, because men who calm savages are known to be dangerous?

Or did they fear further disruption of the status quo?

How could they come to Jesus and not see Jesus?

If they thought it a ruse, then they refused to see the man as restored, and insisted on seeing him only in light of his prior behavior. If they thought Jesus dangerous, then they could have perceived that Jesus might evict their own demons. If they loved the status quo, it reveals how easily they became comfortable with — and even preferred — horrible circumstances.

When the people heard about the pigs, and the loss of income, they asked Jesus to leave. The restored man begged to go with him.

When we come to Jesus, we should see Jesus, prefer to be with him, and disregard those things that the flesh and the world and the devils would rather we see.

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