The Cost of Deliverance

Matthew 8:28–34 (ESV) And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. 33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.

The power of Jesus to cast out these demons ought to make our hearts rejoice that such deliverance has come through our Savior. But then, that is what we ought to expect from such an one. If He is who He says He is – then this is what we ought to expect – the vanquishing of the powers of darkness even when displayed in unimaginable and hideous ways.

What ought to shock us, is the response of the people recorded in vs. 34. Having wrought so great a miracle among them, they begged Him to leave their region. Why? The text does not offer us a specific reason. And yet, perhaps it isn’t too hard to discern at least a part of it.

It seems most simply here, that the cost of deliverance was too high. If they were going to lose a herd of pigs every time demons were cast out – better to have their financial security than to see the kingdom bring its freedom. How much we value the things of this world.

And I wonder – how often do we judge the cost of deliverance from the torment and bondage of sin too high as well? So I make sure the Church gets my tithe – but no more. I budget my time and energy so that I never give TOO much. After all, our security is in the things of this life – right? Or maybe there is a sin I value so much – that to lose it – is just too expensive for the freedom I might enjoy. What’s my herd of pigs?

Beloved, may we grow to be more like the dear one who anointed Jesus for His burial with the flask of spikenard. A year’s wages were not too much in her eyes to honor her dear Redeemer.

When did we stop being lavish in return for the lavishness of His sacrifice on our behalf? He thought no cost was too high for our deliverance. May we find no cost too high that others and even ourselves, might have such a deliverance too.

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