We sometimes resist the work of Jesus in our lives. His mission is to make us like him – to make us into pure humans. This purity is marked by selflessness and a devotion to the family of God. And sometimes we resist this.
We feel the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, telling us to relinquish something that is dear to us, or something that we’ve spent many months and years acquiring for ourselves, and we resist. We might say all the right things and try to think all the right things, but the internal resistance is very real. The grip of sin is firm, even though it sometimes tries to stay concealed.
Perhaps this is what was happening in the country of the Gerasenes. This was Gentile land. We know this because a large herd of pigs was being kept nearby. God’s chosen people didn’t keep pigs.
And Jesus was met by a crazed man from out of the tombs. He wasn’t in his right mind. He had an unclean spirit. He was loud and violent and self-inflicting. Jesus cast out the unclean spirit and sent it into the pigs. They promptly rushed down a hill and into the sea where they drowned.
The man was purged of evil. But the larger picture Jesus paints is that of a land that was being purged of evil. And in the midst of this purge, there was resistance. The local people were afraid, and they begged Jesus to leave. Ah, sometimes we resist the work of Jesus in our lives.
Before leaving, Jesus instructed the formerly demon-possessed man to tell his friends how much “the Lord” had done for him. The man promptly went away and told his friends – and everyone else – how much Jesus had done for him. Mark subtly reminds us who Jesus is.
The fundamental issue here is purity and authority. The entrance of Jesus into that region moved it toward purity – toward a purge of evil. And he was able to do this because he had authority over unclean spirits.
When Jesus enters our lives, things inevitably start to happen. He is the one with authority – even authority over the moral motions of our minds. We tend to begin to think differently when Christ is at the center of our hearts. He points us toward purity. Certain things get driven “into the sea and drowned.”
But at the same time, we might experience some internal resistance. Our wills are fundamentally corrupted, after all. And so the work Jesus does isn’t necessarily work we may be comfortable with.
A question for your day: Is there an area of your life in which you are resisting the work of Christ? Take the first thing that comes to your mind and pray over it. See what the Holy Spirit has to tell you about this.