Wednesday, February 11, 2009

01/23 - Dumb Demons and Suicidal Pigs

Matthew 8:28-34

These demons were not very smart—they picked suicidal pigs for their next victims—and they showed some signs of paranoia. But, they still give us a unique view of Jesus.

So far, Matthew has shown us Jesus through the eyes of a prophet (John the Baptist), the heavenly Father, large crowds of followers and curious gawkers, an ostracized leper, a Roman centurion, a teacher of the law, and 12 of his closest followers. This look at Jesus through the demons’ eyes is perhaps most unusual of all.

We should be careful about accepting their word. After all, they were paranoid and not very smart. Also, by nature, they were prone to lie. Still, their reaction to Jesus is enlightening in two ways.

First, they recognized Jesus’ unique nature. Apparently, before Jesus could say anything, they blurted out, "What do you want with us, Son of God?" Matthew does not tell how they knew he was the Son of God. Perhaps they saw realities in the spiritual realm undetectable by human eye, or they communicated some way with other demons, maybe even some of the ones Jesus casted out earlier. Regardless, their testimony to Jesus’ divinity adds some credibility to our faith in him.

Second, they recognized Jesus’ authority. They assumed Jesus had the authority and power to torture them and to cast them out. In fact, they begged Jesus to let them go to the pigs if he decided to cast them out.

Jesus did not dispute their understanding about his nature or authority. Instead, he exercised his authority with a simple, one-word response—“Go.” At his one-word command, the demons left the two men.

If even demons recognized that Jesus was the Son of God and that he had authority over the powers of the spiritual world, then what are we individually to do about him?

The people of that Gentile village decided they did not want Jesus around. Perhaps the loss of the pigs, what today would be many thousands of dollars, caused them to fear additional loses if he stayed around. Perhaps they were just afraid of someone powerful enough to command demons.

We too may find that having Jesus around is inconvenient, sometimes costly and even frightening. However, when we need someone with real power, including power in the spiritual dimensions, where else can we turn?