JESUS’ FREEDOM-FOCUS IS ALWAYS UPSTREAM! Of course He notices the immediate symptoms, but unlike most of us, He doesn’t just stick with that – He chooses to go upstream – addressing the underlying cause in order to release us from all of what He sees is binding us! Jesus looks way beyond the obvious presented drama of the crazed demoniac, choosing to go after the dark powers driving that demoniac’s insanity! He goes to the source!
It seems – like those villagers – that we are not always comfortable with that. We prefer dealing with just whatever is obvious. We don’t like change and we don’t like to lose our excuses for staying as we are. We know that once we’ve lost our excuses we will need to take responsibility for not living the just, compassionate, merciful life that we were made for, and that we know is available to us all!
THAT DEMONIAC posed enough of a threat to that society that they chose to excise him from the land of their living by chaining him to life lived among the dead. Kind of like a Lazarus who came also to be entombed way before his time…
While all would ignore what was actually driving his brokenness, Jesus would NOT! Those dark forces, profoundly threatened by Christ’s presence, try to make Jesus go away! But Christ reaching beyond the desperation of that man’s presenting circumstances, healed him. Set him free! Not just symptomatically but at the level of causality! Christ’s voice reaches in and commands that man’s deepest darkness to leave, effecting an adaptive transformation within that man!
AS FOR THE CROWD:…instead of celebrating the healing of one of their community, they were terrified! They clamour for Jesus to leave! Why? What would they have preferred Jesus do? Would they have wanted Jesus somehow to make that guy’s life better but without actually changing anything? Every actual encounter with the living Jesus Christ always actually changes us! ALWAYS! Truth be told – I’m not sure that that’s always what we want! We should be careful what we pray for because all we can usually see is the problem as it presents, while Christ sees the actual cause of whatever is NOT of God in our lives.
Christ’s healing changes stuff – actually! It changes who we are. That can be threatening. Certainly it’s unsettling!
What we may hope as we draw closer to this Christ is, ultimately, the legitimisation of OUR agendas. We want the things that we feel are wrong to be improved, to be fixed, made easier. But what Christ does is invariably so much deeper than that – making our lives not necessarily easier as Godlier. While we may long for functional fixes, what Christ has in mind is adaptive transformation.
After Jesus’ touch our circumstances may appear outwardly to be exactly the same while INWARDLY everything changes – because we change – how we see and feel and experience life changes – which of course changes everything! So where does that leave us?
Will Willemon speaks about ‘Jesus’ terrifying liberation!’
Seems we should be very careful what we pray for…
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