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A MOB DISPERSED
"Jesus asked him, 'What is your name?'
"'Mob. My name is Mob,' he said, because many demons afflicted him. And they begged Jesus desperately not to order them into the bottomless pit.
"A large herd of pigs was browsing and rooting on a nearby hill. The demons begged Jesus to order them into the pigs. He gave the order. It was even worse for the pigs than for the man. Crazed, they stampeded over the cliff into the lake and drowned." Luke 8:30-33 (The Message).
For anyone reading this for the first time, this is a strange story. It sounds a bit like science fiction, doesn't it?
But for anyone unfortunate enough to be caught up in demonic involvement, and for those looking on, this was a very real and frightening situation. This man was inhabited by spirit beings who had completely taken over his life, using his body to host them and controlling his mind and his behaviour. They were representatives of the realm of absolute evil, controlled by the devil who had rejected and rebelled against God.
Their presence had turned this man into a raving lunatic who had no control over his thoughts and behaviour. He was on a path to destroy himself and everyone and everything around him.
There was no physical power strong enough to bind or muzzle him. It was only the presence of Jesus, whom the demons acknowledged to be the Son of the High God, and to whose authority they had to bow, that calmed the situation down enough for Him to speak to the man and get a sane reply.
Why did Jesus ask him his name? Was it out of curiosity or was it for a deeper reason than that? The first step towards this man's healing was for him to acknowledge who he was. In Hebrew thought, a name was a prophetic utterance of character. Who he was, was expressed in his name.
Jesus wanted him to acknowledge who he was. The name, Mob, was not the name his parents had given him. It was the name he had acquired through the process of bad choices and the eventual invasion of demons who controlled what he had become.
Why did the demons beg to be sent into the pigs? Why could they not have just been told to go somewhere else? They knew that the time was coming when they would be judged along with their master, the devil, and all his other henchmen, but that time was not yet. In the meantime their territory was earth and their victims, people. They needed to inhabit human bodies but to enter humans needed their cooperation through deception and that took time. In their desperation not to be left bodyless, the pigs were their next option. Perhaps Jesus gave His permission because pigs were regarded as unclean animals and unfit for human consumption according to the Torah. They were fitting hosts for unclean spirits.
We have to remember that Jesus, as a rabbi, was always exposing His disciples to learning experiences. What would their impression have been? In the midst of this chaotic environment, one person stood out as being in charge -- Jesus! He was not fazed by the hullabaloo this man was causing. He was not afraid of his violence. His presence calmed him down, allowing him to give Him a sane answer and His authority was unmistakeable, over the demons and over the man.
Jesus had taken charge of a violent storm and restored calm. He had taken charge of a violent man and restored peace. They were slowly building confidence in Him as the one He claimed to be -- the promised Messiah. With their own eyes they were witnessing what the kingdom of God was all about.
This is the Jesus we have been invited to trust. Have you trusted Him?
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