Father Rodney Torbic

June 18 / July 1, 2018

The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Matthew 8:28-9:1

And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts. And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. (KJV)

Christ’s dominant presence in believers’ hearts and minds makes demons unwelcome. The present Gospel describes the way Jesus disposes of demons. The nearby herd of swine would become a vehicle for the disposition of the demons.

The Lord Jesus Christ made use of the herd of swine to rid the threat of the demons and to clear the path for passersby. Jesus clears the path to the Kingdom of God for believers.

Jesus lights the path to follow in times of darkness. Jesus provides semblance of mind in times of distress. Stress from personal demons is alleviated when believers turn to Christ.

The demons gave a glimpse of their belief that Jesus was insurmountable in power when they asked to be sent into the herd of swine. If the demons felt superior in strength to Jesus, they would have acted differently.

If the demons were stronger than Jesus, there would be no need to act as if Jesus had control over their disposition. Jesus followed through on the disposition. The demons entered the swine and the herd perished in the sea.

The demons were no longer a threat to individuals passing that way. The demons perished due to the action of the Lord Jesus Christ. Believers appealing to the Lord Jesus Christ in serious prayer will have pathways open to them.

Believers should not be averse to confronting the demons in their lives by appealing to the Lord. Evidence exists in the history of the Church of believers who have overcome personal demons through prayer, fasting and vigilance.

The power of Jesus Christ does not remain hidden. The working of miracles by Jesus Christ continues to be told. Individuals facing adversity find hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Witnesses to the disposition of the demons went to the city and told others. Individuals healed by Christ act appropriately by giving Christ credit for helping them overcome demons.

People from the city came to Jesus when they heard that Jesus had caused the demons to perish. When Jesus performs miracles the reaction is not always favorable. Sometimes individuals learning of the miracles are frightened.

Sometimes personal sinfulness can cause individuals to want to be distanced from Jesus. Jesus was asked to the leave the area. There are certain environments where Christians as followers of Jesus Christ are not welcome.

In certain places of employment and certain areas of communities where corruption is prevalent, Christians are not welcome because of their ethical standards.

When a serious Christian works in an environment where dishonesty or questionable ethical practices exist, the Christian may find a hostile work atmosphere or be encouraged to “loosen up” and become “accommodating.”

How often do we hear of individuals entering fields where high ethics are required who succumb to existing lesser ethical practices and find themselves compromising their standards?

When Christians expect co-workers and superiors to perform with honesty and ethically, friction may occur. When individuals subscribe to questionable practices in a workplace, the honest person’s difference is highlighted.

Jesus was not applauded for ridding the roadway of the undesirable demon-possessed men. Jesus did not receive expressions of appreciation from individuals who no longer had to worry about facing threats from the demon-possessed men.

In contemporary terms, the demon-possessed men could be considered “bullies” by the behavior they would exhibit to passersby. How many boys and girls face “demon-possessed” individuals on their activities each day?

How many adults face “demon-possessed” individuals on the streets? How many individuals have worked in situations where a person wanted the job to be done ethically correct and others wanted to “bend the rules” ?

Being a Christian requires taking a stand against the demon-possessed in our communities and work places. Being a Christian necessitates upholding the teachings of Christ and following the example of Christ.

Jesus left and went to His own city. The action of the people towards Jesus and Jesus’ departure brings to mind the words Jesus gave to His disciples when He empowered them.

When Jesus empowered His disciples over unclean spirits, sickness and disease, He told them: “Whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.” (Mt. 10:1-14).

June 18 / July 1, 2018
The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost.
The Holy Marytrs Leontius, Theodulus and Hypatius.

Fr. Rodney Torbic
Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania

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