Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday in Lent 2: The pigs are gone

Opening Sentence
Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. Joel 2:13

Commemoration: The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste
O Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs of Sebaste triumphed over suffering and were faithful even unto death: Grant us, who now remember them with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world, that we may receive with them the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 75, 76

Lessons: Genesis 43:16-34, 1 Corinthians 7:10-24, Mark 5:1-20

The reaction of the people to Jesus' healing of the Gerasene demoniac is all too typical. Rather than welcome Jesus with open arms, they insisted that he leave. Why? Well, the pigs were gone. When Jesus ordered the demons into the herd of pigs, the pigs then "rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.”

The town had a lot invested in those pigs. Jesus might have been bad for business if he had stayed around.

Jesus responded to the people's demand the way he always responded to faithlessness. He didn’t stay where he wasn’t wanted. He would not force a stubborn people to accept him. He came to show them that they could be set free from whatever was keeping them in bondage. But their only response was, "The pigs are gone." They were a people who could not accept the gracious offer of God in the flesh.

Although he departed from them, Jesus did not leave himself without a witness. The demoniac, now healed, wanted to go with Jesus. Jesus, however, told him, "Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you. Jesus would often instruct those he healed to keep quiet about it. This one, however, he sent back to his home with instructions to tell everyone about the healing and transforming power of God. So, with great enthusiasm, the man went about spreading the Good News. The town was not ready for Jesus when he came in person. But the man he healed continued to be a witness to the fact that the Son of God had paid them a visit.

(JAG)

The Wonderful Cross