The Disruptive Change of Jesus
“Get him out of town!” “I just want things to go back to normal.” Those are the kind of things I imagine people said about the unwanted guest. Sure, he’d helped a few people, but he had also disturbed the peace, caused the destruction of property, and upset the local economy. He just needed to go so that people could pick up the pieces and get on with their normal lives. The problem was, the person they told to leave was Jesus! This account takes place in Matthew 8:28-34. Jesus visits the region of the Gadarenes, is met with two violent, demon-possessed men. They recognize Jesus as the Son of God, and beg Him to cast them into a herd of pigs. Jesus obliges, and the pigs rush down the bank into the lake and drown. The pig herders run to town and spread the news. The whole town went to see Jesus and begged Him to leave their region.
What a tragedy! It’s Jesus! You can’t beg Jesus to leave. And what about the two men He healed? Surely they were better off having met Jesus. We can understand the pig herders’ rejection a bit more, since the soggy swine would be an economic loss for them. But all of this points to the principle we see throughout the New Testament: When Jesus comes, He brings change, and that change is often disruptive. The same can be said of our lives. When we first come to know Jesus, we have to change. We have to die to self, take up our cross, and follow Him. That can and should disrupt our normal, sinful, bound-for-hell pre-Christian lives. Praise the Lord for that disruption! The same can be said for our church. Are we as a church open to the often disruptive (by our standards) change that Jesus brings? We are in a time of transition. We have already and continue to experience change. Will we, like the townspeople, unintentionally reject the disruptive change Jesus wants to bring? Or will we trust that God is working through the disruption and change for our good and His glory? May we be open to the glorious change Jesus brings, in our lives and in the life of our church.