(By Rachel Joyce)
Picture the scene with me. Between the city and the steep banks fringing the Sea of Galilee lay a desolate area littered with tombs. No one dared walk through this region of the Gadarenes because of the ferocity of the two demon-possessed men living there among the dead.
But Jesus changed all that. With compassion, He went right to where the men were. The demons recognized Him and begged to be allowed to go into a huge herd of pigs which were feeding in the distance. At His command, the demons fled and the swine plunged over the edge and drowned in the water below. The men were free from the oppressive tyranny of the power of darkness and the region was safe again, all because of Jesus. The herdsmen raced to the city to tell everyone what had happened. Then we read,
“Behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they…” (Mat 8:34).
All the city came out to meet Jesus. Isn’t that incredible? The whole city: such unity! Everyone together, all stepping out for an encounter with the Christ. The stage had been set for a mighty revival. After such a display of His power and compassion, surely the people would fall at Jesus’ feet in worship and thank Him.
But no. When you finish reading the sentence, you see that instead of revival, the opposite occurred.
“But they begged him to go away and leave them alone” (Mat 8:34).
These are among the saddest words in Scripture. They rejected the One who could have freed them from their sin, given them joy, peace, and fullness of life. It didn’t matter to them that two men had been freed from demonic bondage. They didn’t want Jesus, so He left them and went back across the water to His own town.
This passage is a solemn reminder that your response to Jesus makes all the difference. His love extends to each person, but He doesn’t force anyone to receive Him. He is the all-powerful One, at whose command the demons flee, but He will not break down the door to your heart and push His way in.
He says, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Rev 3:20).
The Son of God suffered on the cross to purge your sins and make you right with God. He wants to be your friend. He waits for you to respond. If you accept Him by faith, you will come into the fullness of life that He offers, but if you refuse Him you will live with the consequences of that choice for all eternity. In Him, you will find all that your heart desires - love, peace, joy, and eternal life. I pray that you will receive Him today.