Mk.5:17 – And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.
These folks from Gadara didn’t want anything to do with Jesus. They had their problems (the crazy naked guy shrieking in the cemetery) but they didn’t want anyone to touch their stuff. They had already lost 2000 pigs and they didn’t want to lose anything else. Like everyone else, they may complain about how miserable the economy is or how bad the political leaders are; but when it gets right down to it, “don’t mess with my stuff”.
Think about the contrast between the townspeople and the wild man. The demonized guy lived on the edge of eternal destruction. More than once he had stared death and hell in the eye. The townsfolk were comfortable in their miserable day to day existence. They didn’t want this itinerant miracle worker to upset their life. Jesus, whatever you do, don’t bring that brand of religion around here. Here is how William Barclay describes this scene.
“Instinctively people say, “Don’t disturb my comfort.” If someone came to us and said, “I can give you a world that will be better for the mass of people in general, but it will mean that your comfort will, at least for a time, be disturbed and upset, and you will have to do with less for the sake of others,” most of us would say, “I would much rather that you would leave things as they are.”….There is a great deal of talk about what life owes us. Life owes us precisely nothing; the debt is all the other way round. It is we who owe life all that we have to give. We are followers of one who gave up the glory of heaven for the narrowness of earth, who gave up the joy of God for the pain of the Cross. It is human not to want to have our comfort disturbed; it is divine to be willing to be disturbed that others may have more.”
There is a price to pay to be involved with redemption. Our Mary’s-song ministry costs lots of people their time and their resources. What do we get from our investment? The joy of watching lives change before our eyes. We get the long term joy of seeing the redemption story lived out in those that Christ has set free. So if you see a madman clothed and sitting at Jesus feet, reconsider before you send Jesus along His way.