Sunday, February 24, 2013

40-Day Lent Bible Reading Plan (February 24th)

I am about two weeks into my New Testament Bible reading plan during Lent as we lead up to Easter at the end of March. If you have ever tried to read through the NT on a quick plan, I am sure you have noticed the repetition of the gospel writers. This past week, I read Matthew 25 through Luke 9. As I read the end of Matthew, the entire book of Mark, and the beginning of Luke, many of the accounts of Jesus' life seemed to intertwine together. That is good and bad. It is good in the sense that we see the personality of each writer relating the story, which brings in a much fuller picture of the event. But it could be bad because of the temptation to skip over the details of the event seeing how you just read about it a few days earlier.

There was one account that really made me stop and think this past week. For reasons I will explain later, I was particularly impacted by the account of Jesus healing the man who was possessed by the Legion of Demons (Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39). Maybe you remember the story. Jesus meets this man who lives out in the wild and was basically manic. He lived in the tombs because nobody could even bind him with chains. The demons that possessed this man made him stronger than anyone or anything around. Well, at least until Jesus shows up. As the story unfolds, the Legion of Demons know that Jesus is going to heal the man and beg to be cast out into the heard of pigs instead of into the abyss. Jesus grants that wish and they enter the herd of pigs and they rush down the bank towards the sea and drown in the sea.

Those that were watching the pigs went to the city and told what happened. The people come back and see the man sitting in his right mind. When the people of the city realized what Jesus had done (healing the demon possessed man by sending the demons into the pigs, they begged him to leave their region. They wanted him gone. Here is the thought that struck me as I read this account.

Did the people think the 2,000 pigs were more valuable than one man being healed?

Could this story be about the value of human life? There is no doubt that these people wanted Jesus to leave because they were scared of His power. There was a guy they could not control and Jesus subdued him easily. But I also wander if they were upset at the loss of their pigs. In that culture, that was their livelihood. And it was gone. Would they have traded the death of that man for the life of their pigs? Would we?

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