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TODAY 01/11/12 in the One Year Bible
by Stan Parker
Matthew 8:34 (ESV)
 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
I have never understood this response.
Every time I have read this section I anticipate a positive response to Jesus because He has just done an amazing act of kindness!
He has freed two men from violent demonic bondage!
Not to mention in doing so removed their violence from being an issue to the people of the town!
They have seen nothing but positive effect from Jesus' presence in their community.
SO WHY WOULD THEY ASK HIM TO LEAVE?!
This morning as I stop and reflect on it for the first time, I wonder of it has to do with control.
I don't think we as humans by nature like things we cannot control!
Here was this man who just demonstrated POWER like they had never seen!
And while it benefited them, clearly they could see that they couldn't control Jesus. So they asked Him to leave.
putting THEM back in control?
well, sort of
reestablishing themselves as the greatest power around them?
at least in their own minds
Even though with the demon possessed men, they had already seen that there ARE things they encounter more powerful then they and that they cannot control.
What was the alternative way they could have responded?
If you can't control Jesus, you have to trust Him!
The counter to control is trust!
Trust that He is good!
Trust that He wills MY good!
Trust that He will use His power to bless not to harm.
They could have trusted Jesus.
But they didn't.
So they actually DID exercise a level of control over Jesus.
They ASKED Him to leave.
And since He doesn't force Himself on people... He left!
How many of us make that same crazy choice?!
We exercise the one level of "control" we have over God and reject Him
instead of trusting His rule over us!
And so we are left to our own way.