Friday 19 September 2014

"ASKED HIM TO DEPART" Bible Reading Thoughts for Sept 16th

After teaching the parable of the sower, "He (Jesus) cried, that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Luke 8:8).

Our other two readings have the example of those who do have ears to hear and those who don't.
Those who don't have ears to hear:
"Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a REBELLIOUS house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a REBELLIOUS house." (Ezekiel 12:2)

Those who do have ears to hear:
"Because thine heart was TENDER, and thou hast HUMBLED thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake...and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me". Josiah acted upon the words of the LORD, as chapter 23 gives us great detail, as he destroyed the idolatry in the land. (2 Ki 22:19)

In these two examples we have the hard soil of the rebellious heart, and the good soil that is soft and tender ready to receive and bear fruit.

Because of Josiah's actions and zeal for executing Gods word, he escaped the judgement which was to come. May we be of the same mind and zeal, that we be not overcome with the things and idolatry of this world and life, that by Gods grace and mercy we also escape the judgement that will be brought upon this world, and "may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man". (Lu 21:36)

            We read of a remarkable miracle today in Luke ch. 8., the healing of a man who had become totally deranged in mind. He was well known, owned a house and lived in the city before he became insane.  Jesus did many miracles in many different ways but this healing was particularly challenging to those who knew the man and lived in his city.
            Jesus came to “the country of the Gerasenes and this man, in his insane state, now lived among the tombs, “When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” [v.28]  His insane mind led him to perceive who Jesus really was!  There was nothing to be gained by Jesus explaining that such a state of mind was not caused by an ‘evil spirit’ taking over control of the mind; this belief had arisen as a result of the Greek conquest; this was what the Greeks superstitiously believed: the Old Testament shows that no such beliefs were held in earlier years.
            A dramatic healing occurs!  The supposed ‘demons’ are ‘seen’ to be in the pigs because they madly rush down the slope and drown in the waters of Galilee. Now eating pork, even touching their carcases was ‘unclean’ under the law God gave to Moses [Lev. 11 v.7,8]; obviously those keeping the pigs had no regard for the law!   The event was a challenge to the “people (who) went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.” [v.35]
            Every other healing Jesus did resulted in many more coming for healings but not here!  “All the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them for they were seized with great fear. [v.37] We suspect they were afraid of other things that might happen that would cause a further loss of livelihood.
The reasons are not entirely different today for those who believe in evolution rather than a Creator who will hold them responsible for how they live their lives.  Those who believe in a Creator have at least some responsibility!  Recall what we read last week in Ezekiel in chapter 3.  “If I say to the wicked, ’You shall sure die,” God says to Ezekiel, “and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn … he shall die for his iniquity but his blood I will require at your hand.  But if you warn the wicked … you will have delivered your soul” [ch. 3 v.18,19]   Any words we attempt to speak or write must be done in love. Jesus told his hearers to “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” [Matt 5 v.44]. We do not want Jesus “to depart” from us.   

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