Matthew 18:19-34 

            A scribe came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”         

            Then another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Jesus answered, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

            His disciples followed him when he got into a boat.  Suddenly a great storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but Jesus was asleep.  His disciples came and awakening him said, “Lord, save us!  We are perishing!”  But he said to them, “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?”  Then he arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  The men wondered saying, “Who can this be that even the winds and the sea obey him?”

            Jesus came to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee] into the country of Gadarenes.  There he was met by two who were possessed with demons; they came out of the tombs and were very violent, so much so, that no one could pass that way.  They cried out saying, “What have we to do with you, Jesus, you Son of God?  Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 

            Some distance away there was a herd of swine.  The demons implored Jesus saying, “If you cast us out, allow us to go away into that herd of swine.”  Jesus said, “Go”.

            When they came out they went into the herd of swine.  When that happened the entire herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and there they perished in the waters.

            The swine herders then fled and went into the city telling everything that had happened and what had happened to those who had been possessed of the demons.  The entire city came out to meet Jesus.  When they saw Him they begged him to leave their coasts.  

            When we meet Jesus we are given a choice; allow Him to change our hearts or to continue doing things our way.  The teacher of the Torah (the Law) said he was willing to change his life and follow him but first he wanted to go home and bury his father. If he could do that then he would be willing to change his life.

            The Scriptures record a change in the weather.  It was stormy and Jesus speaking to the storm caused it to become calm.  The sea changed. 

            When Jesus cast out the demons from the men in the tombs they were changed.  Sadly, the people of the town where the men lived who herded the swine did not want to change.  They refused the King of Glory and told him to go somewhere else.  They wanted to keep the status quo.  They did not want any part of Jesus and refused to change.     

           The teacher (scribe) of the Torah refused to change.  In other words he was happy with the status quo and his position in the community.  The picture here is of one who is ‘religious’, doing all the right things, yet when he is challenged by the Savior, although he doesn’t out and out refuse to follow, he thinks he must first go bury his father.  The lesson here is not that the man should go bury his father, but that the man is to put God in first place in his life.  He has to be willing to change according to God’s teachings and instructions. 

           We refuse the teachings and instructions of God, dis-obeying His principles (commandments) in order to retain our position in the community, our business partners or network of business connections, because we are fearful, that if we change we will lose friends, family, community status or our business.  If you change and begin walking out God’s teachings and instructions, all of the above may happen.  But allowing God to change your heart will result in that peace that passes all understanding.          

           Here are some verses to encourage you as you allow the LORD to change your heart, and your circumstances.

 “The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11)

“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:11)

“I will hear what God the LORD will speak, For He will speak peace To His people and to His saints; But let them not turn back to folly.” (Psalm 85:8)

“Great peace have those who love Your Law, And nothing causes them to stumble.” (Psalm 119:165)

 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

  Be blessed, 

Jane Owens

© 2013