“The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region” (Matthew 8:33–34).
It’s startling to realize that some people do not respect Jesus as much as the demons do. But that was exactly the case for this city (probably ancient Gerasa). The populace wanted nothing to do with the Lord but actually begged Him to leave their area. Mark’s account of the incident gives us more clues to their attitudes: “the people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind . . . and they became frightened” (Mark 5:14–15). As much as any hostility they may have had, they were simply scared.
As unregenerate sinners, the Gerasenes were no doubt bewildered and intimidated by Jesus. They saw His ability to control demons and animals and to restore crazed minds to sanity—and the result was complete opposition to Christ.
In sharp contrast to the attitude of the city people, one of the delivered men implored Jesus to let him go with Him (Mark 5:18). He manifested a great faith, love, and adoration for the Lord—so much so that he could not bear the thought of separation. But Jesus commanded him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19). The man was to be an evangelist to his own people, testifying that despite their present opposition to Jesus, the Son of God did not want them to perish spiritually.
Are there people in your life whose rejection of and opposition to Christ are totally baffling to you—going against all logic and every example of God’s reality? How should you respond to such hardheadedness?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610