REMEMBER WHAT HE SAID
Mark 5:17; Matthew 8:34; Luke 8:37
After returning from the Eastern side of the Galilean Sea, Jesus now returns to the more populous Western side. There on the Eastern side he had just healed the Gerasene demoniac and instead of welcoming Jesus with open arms to their city, the Bible says they deliberately chose to do the opposite. Matthew says, “And behold the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34). Mark states “And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts” (Mark 5:7). What an unusually strange request!
Usually people, sane people, pray for Him to stay, beg Him to stay a little while longer, plead with Him to hang out with them, but in this case you had the completely bizarre request for Him to leave – for Him to remove Himself from their immediate presence and surroundings. They unanimously voted, as it were, to have Jesus excommunicated from their midst, their activities and their proceedings. They preferred to proceed without Him, choosing rather to remain unblessed, spiritually unfazed and divinely disconnected. I pray to the Heavenly Father that none of us would be so trifling and void of good sense to make such an absolutely brainless request of the Master today. We just plain need Him!
In our selected passage for reflection this week, you would think that these people from the Gadarenes would have rejoiced over the phenomenal miracle that had just transpired. This notorious demoniac was not just finally tamed and contained, but was actually, literally supernaturally healed and delivered! No longer was he restless, savage and suicidal - but now seated at the feet of Jesus, clothed and for the first time, finally in his right mind (Mark 5:15). No longer deviant and demon-possessed, no longer terrorizing the countryside and the environs, but he was now miraculously converted and delivered! Yet instead of giving God praise and rejoicing in the person and presence of Jesus, they displayed the ugliest spirit of rejection ever. They too were possessed by the maniacal spirit of the Antichrist, in need of deliverance, but too blind to see.
They were more concerned about their lost of revenue from the drowned swine. Can you imagine! They placed profit over the welfare of eternal souls. Jesus had done them the greatest favor by liberating them from the tyranny of this legion of demons that terrorized their countryside and neighborhood, but they were so spiritually blind, ignorant and alienated. Not even this dramatic miracle was able to awaken their senses of their desperate need for the Savior. They regrettably drove Jesus away to their own soul’s hurt and eternal damnation!
However, not so with us! We pray the right prayer! We are the people, who persistently clamor for His presence with us. We would rather have Jesus than silver or gold, We would rather have Jesus than riches untold, We would rather have Jesus than houses or lands. We would rather be led by His nail pierced hand! (author Rhea F. Miller) We choose Jesus again and again. Our prayer is O God we desperately need you. Please abide with us now and forever. We pray the right prayer!
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Bishop – Northeast Region
April 10, 2021
In collaboration with our District Overseers, the Church of God of Prophecy submits to the wisdom of continuing to ‘Shelter in Place’ for the safety and protection of the flock. This is to be observed until further notice and the present virus is better contained. Should the need arise to meet, we are advised to meet in groups of no more than 10, while we strictly observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing of masks and aggressive sanitizing of our hands and surfaces frequently touched.
Please let us patiently observe these practices to keep each other safe and alive. We are reminded that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. Stay home! Stay Healthy! Stay Hopeful! We shall soon get through this! Premature re-openings of our churches seem not to be the wisest way to go at this point. Let us continue to pray, caring for each other and staying connected.
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Presiding Bishop — Northeast Region