Yesterday I wrote a post in which I talked about the persecution many of us as Christians are facing for being Pro-Life. (A Reflection On Matthew 5:10-12 & 8:28-34
) Last night I was talking about it with a friend & a few more thoughts on Matthew
8 came to mind that I want to share.
I saw a parallel between the swineherds & those who run the clinics. The swineherds were upset because their source of income was destroyed. Planned Parenthood & the other clinics are upset with us because they know our prayers & protests are having an effect. We are saving lives. So what do they do, the swineherds run to the town & get the townspeople who ask Jesus to leave. PP et al are doing something similar. A couple of prime examples are the evnts in NY City I have talked about before where they are trying to get the City Council to drive away the 4o Days for Life people. Then there is the Freedom of Choice Act & the chilling effect it will have on pro-life speech.
The townspeople should have rejoiced at the freeing of the demoniac. But they didn't. Just like those pushing today's "culture of death" they are more concerned with keeping the status quo, making money & not facing up to their sinful lives. Remember, Jesus was in pagan territory, not Jewish territory. & when we face the "culture of death" world, we are in pagan territory as well. Jesus upset their economy. When we save a life from abortion, we do the same to PP. They make big bucks from killing the unborn.
Also, remember that for the jews, swine were an unclean animal. In the OT, being unclean was often a symbol for sin. Driving the demons into the swine & their destruction as a result of Jesus' actions was symbolic of Jesus putting an end to sin & evil. By working to stop abortion we are working to put an end to sin as well. We are getting rid of an intrinsic evil.
At this point the demoniac becomes a symbol of all of us. Jesus set the demoniac free from bondage to evil spirits. By Jesus' death & resurrection we have been set free from the bondage of sin.
In the versions by Mark & Luke, the man set free wanted to go with Jesus. Normally, we would think that the man wanted to follow Jesus, in this case it was something different. Jesus gave him a mission, to proclaim the good news (gospel) of how Jesus set him free. & he was to do it in the very territory that showed its hostility to Jesus' actions. That was how he was to truly follow Jesus. Christians are to do the same thing, proclaim the Gospel in hostile territory. The man willingly obeyed. How willing are we to do what Jesus asks of us? Are we willing to face hostility? Are we willing to face persecuted? Are we willing to be blessed in the midst of that persecution? Will we say yes to the call to follow Jesus?