Sunday, June 16, 2019

Luke 8.26-39: A Scene So Terrible

The people were unable to bear the sight (Luke 8:26-39). In the context of this story of healing - where Jesus made whole the man who had been possessed by a "Legion" of demon spirits, this was the moment that the people just could not handle. It was a scene that might have looked like the one below.
Domenico Morelli. Pater Noster, the Sermon on the Mount. c. 1895. 
It seems strange that in this gospel episode a scene like this (people sitting around talking) should be the horrifying scene. The people were quite comfortable when the man was naked and living in the local cemetery. They were fine when he was ritually unclean. Fine when a herd of pigs ran themselves, probably squealing all the way, down the bank into water where they no doubt thrashed around until they were all dead and floating on the lake. Nope. That was all ok.

What they couldn't handle was health. They couldn't deal with a man now in his right mind, sitting calmly, talking with Jesus. Think about that. It was when Jesus brought health and healing that the people became afraid and demanded Jesus leave. What is wrong with these people? And what is wrong with us when we are fine with someone else's oppression, someone else's exploitation, someone else's failure, but we are afraid of someone else's wholeness, someone else's security, someone else's opportunity?

Note: The illustration above is of the sermon on the mount because as far as I know, there are no works that imagine the post-healing part of the story.

This week on Facebook, a look at the really disturbing scenes of Luke 8:26-39. Click here.

For thoughts on I Kings 21:1-15a, click here.

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