DayBreaks for 06/19/13 – Rooting Out Evil
Matthew 8:30-32 (KJV) – And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
It is interesting that in the English language the word evil is “live” spelled backwards. Truthfully, evil always destroys. Life is diminished if not obliterated where the demons rule. The death of the pigs recorded in Mark shows that. And, in the Ancient Near East, the sea represented one of the forces of chaos that people feared the most, especially among the Israelites. So it’s a double-threat: first there is death but to compound the matter there is death by drowning in the sea, thus increasing the sense of chaos and evil in this story.
The sad spectacle of those hapless pigs rushing headlong into the sea should serve to remind us that the expelling of evil from our world always involves sacrifice. Whatever His reasons, God does not simply wave a magic wand to eliminate evil. Rooting out evil takes time, takes effort, and takes above all sacrifice. This should hardly people who live their lives in the shadow of a cross.
One final point, however: Jesus was chased away by the townsfolk but the healed man remained and according to verse 39, he kept on talking about what Jesus had done. Something about his witness reminds us that this is also our role: lots of people in this world try to chase Jesus away. Our task is to hang around and just keep talking, just keep witnessing to Jesus’ work, and just keep hoping and praying that at the end of the day, that witness will bring people back to the very Jesus they once chased away. “Return home and tell how much God has done for you,” Jesus told this man.
He tells the rest of us the exact same thing.
PRAYER: If we had our choice, Father, we would have You wave a magic wand and eliminate all evil now. We’d rather not have to think about the sacrifice part of what it means to rid our corner of the world of evil. And we’d rather not have to evangelize. Change our hearts, give us courage to live engaged in the battle daily. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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