Jesus remains where he is accepted
Matthew 8: 28-34
28When Jesus arrived in the Gadara region, on the east side of Lake Galilee, two men who were dominated by demons went to meet him. They came from the cemetery, where they were living. They were so violent and dangerous that no one dared to go that way. 29They began to shout:
– Son of God, what do you want from us? Did you come here to punish us ahead of time?
30 It turns out that many pigs were eating nearby. 31And the demons insistently asked Jesus:
– If you are going to expel us, send us into those pigs!
32 – Go! Said Jesus.
The demons went and entered the pigs, and they threw themselves down the hill, into the lake, and drowned.
33The men who took care of the pigs fled and arrived in the city. There they told all of this and also what had happened to the two men who were dominated by demons. 34Then all the inhabitants of that city went out to meet Jesus; and when they found him, they insistently asked him to leave their land.
Brothers and sisters, this passage is also reported by Marcos and Lucas with some minor differences. Here in Matthew there is a more simplified version that allows us to focus on what is important to learn today: Where Jesus goes He does miracles, but He only stays where he is accepted.
This passage tells me that Jesus, our Master and Savior, comes to us by his will, not ours. Glory to God, because it confirms Jesus’ teaching (2 Timothy 1: 9, 1 Thessalonians 1: 4) that it is God who chooses us and not us who choose God! Hallelujah.
But if it is God who chooses us, where is the respect for my free will? Did God forget that He gave me the power to decide for myself? Of course not! In the passage we read today this is clear. Jesus went to that village without being called. After an afternoon of teaching, Jesus tells his disciples to go to the other side of the lake, where the village of Gadara or Gerasa was. Nobody had called him there, because there is no need to call Jesus. When God chooses to save someone, He goes to that person.
And God doesn’t do things by chance. The Bible says that He chooses us before forming our bodies. I think that God first sets an objective and then creates us, not the other way around. God is not taken by surprise when our parents conceive us and then thinks: and now, what do I do with Murilo? And then there’s Andy and Tania! How many people! Where am I going to pack things for these kids? No brothers, I think that God defines a plan, something wonderful because He is wonderful! And then he chooses a woman and a man and the first miracle is performed in our life: God creates us! Glory to God!
And so it was, Jesus sailed to the village and performed a miracle in the lives of those (or that) men. Jesus delivered them from demons. He cleaned the house. He left everything ready for the Holy Spirit to come in and make his home.
Now brothers, think about the lives of these men. Jesus transformed their lives from suffering to prosperity. In Mark 5:18 the liberated man (only in Matthew were 2 men) asks to follow Jesus. This shows that he accepted Jesus in his life and is proved when Jesus does not let him go with him on the boat, but gives him another mission: “… tell your relatives what the Lord did to you and how good he was to you. ” The man goes and starts to preach the Gospel of Jesus in that region. He accepted Jesus in his life and God was with him in every place where he told his story, because in Mark 5:20 it is written: “20Then he left and told, in the Ten Cities region, what Jesus had done for him . And everyone was amazed. ”
But there was another group of people around: those who witnessed the liberation. These people also left there and went to tell the same story to other people. But God was not with them and the result was that whoever heard the story from them went to Jesus to expel him from his presence. Jesus respected their decision, and left.
So we can see God’s respect for free will. We can also see that when we accept what Jesus does for us, his chosen ones, he stays with us! Hallelujah!
Sometimes brothers, because we know how good God is with us, we get angry when we see other people who, even seeing the wonderful works of God in our lives, or in the lives of our brothers, they deny God. In these moments, let us remember that it is God who chooses his children, and not the other way around. Jesus told us that his teachings are not for everyone:
Matthew 13: 10-13
10Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked,
– Why do you use parables to talk to these people?
– God shows you the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but not them. 12For those who have will receive more, so that they may have more. But those who don’t have it, even the little they have will be taken away. That is why I use parables to speak to these people. Because they look and don’t see; listen and do not hear, nor understand.
Brothers, let us keep this lesson in our souls: it is God who chooses us and it is Jesus who comes to us, but He only remains in those who accept Him!
Let us pray:
Beloved and careful father, thank you for this comfort, my God, in knowing that the Lord comes to your children. Help us, father, to deal with the frustration of seeing other people far away from you. Calms and educates our souls, so that your message can be spread without pretensions in this world, but full of intensions of praise to the Lord! Amen.