The Values of Jesus

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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So the demons begged, "If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs." "All right, go!" Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

Matthew 8:31-32

This story from Matthew perplexes most of us. For one thing, we in the Western world are generally unfamiliar with demons and don't know how to make sense of them. For another, the peculiar interaction between Jesus and the demons is a conundrum.

For many years, I fretted over why Jesus had granted the request of the demons to enter the pigs. This seemed oddly and unnecessarily unkind to the herdsmen, who lost their livelihood because of Jesus' action. But finally it occurred to me that we can't know if Jesus expected the pigs to drown themselves or not. He did not command the demons to do what they did. More importantly, even if Jesus knew exactly what was going to transpire, this shows us something of the radical values of Jesus. He sought to deliver two men from the horrific life of demon possession. Their freedom was worth so much more than a herd of pigs.

Jesus seeks to set us free from all that binds us. Our "demons" may not be so obvious as those in this story, but they are nevertheless binding. Like the men in this story, we need deliverance from fear, materialism, pride, lust, bitterness, or you-name-it. As we are set free from our "demons," certain aspects of our lives may very well plunge into the sea. Our lives will be forever changed by the power and presence of Christ.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have you experienced Jesus' deliverance in your life? From what have you been delivered? Where do you need the freeing power of Jesus applied today?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I thank you for your deliverance. You have come to set us free from our bondage to sin and death. Yet your power to deliver touches far more than just these ultimate realities. You seek to set us free from all that keeps us from living life to the fullest. For this I give you thanks, especially for the many ways I have experienced your deliverance in my life.

But there is much more to be done, Lord, as you know. I continue to be snared by that which keeps me away from your kingdom: fears, sins, patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior. So I ask you to continue your work of deliverance in my life. Break the chains that bind me. Set me free so that I might live fully for you. Amen.