In college, I took great pleasure in invading people’s personal space. Seeing how close my face could be to theirs before they wigged right out. Adolescent humor yes, but then, I was an adolescent. Occasionally though, people were non-reactive. After all, this idea of personal space is just something that keeps us comfortable with our surroundings. You don’t have to have it, many cultures have very different ideas about it and losing it is not the end of the world. I just got a kick out of upsetting the apple cart.
Jesus wasn’t afraid to tip them over either.
“Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.”
This scene concludes chapter 8 and wraps up 4 incidents recorded by Matthew here where people are not on the same wavelength as Jesus. The first two we looked at on Tuesday. Here it is the disciples who fail to comprehend Jesus’ power and the people of the Gadarenes, who fail to understand His intent. All they see is a man sleeping in a boat and drowning pigs. But like the disciples we are led to ask “What kind of man is this?”
He is a man confident in the knowledge is in the palm of His Father’s (God’s) hand, so confident that He can sleep in the storm.
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
He is a man more concerned with freedom for the tormented than the equilibrium of the status quo.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,”
If can we get past the well pasteurized version of Jesus, we begin to encounter the real one, with all His demands and edges. And mainly, most importantly, we start asking “Who are you anyway?”
Lord, I want to know you. Oh, I want to know you.