So Jesus Left!
25 September 2016
Reading: Ezra 2-3; Luke 8
And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them. So Jesus returned to the boat and left, crossing back to the other side of the lake. (Luke 8:37 NLT)
Jesus’ demonstration of love for one person and disregard for economics set a demon-possessed man free and sent a herd of pigs into the lake. It was a clear picture of compassion, power, and God’s priorities, but it was too much, too fast, too costly, for the people of the community to take on board. They asked him to leave. So Jesus left.
People are wired in a lot of different ways – some won’t change, some resist change, some slowly change, and some are agents of change. But no matter how we handle change, we can only take so much change so fast. This exceeded their capacity for change. Because they wouldn’t or couldn’t respond to the change Jesus’ presence brought, they asked Jesus to leave. So Jesus left.
Rate of change for people is like rate of climb for an aircraft. You have a certain amount of power, a certain amount of weight, and the power to weight ratio determines how rapidly you can climb. In helping people change, you have a certain amount of motivating force, a certain mass of people with a level of resistance to change, and this ratio determines how fast change can happen without crashing.
Change is necessary! I must continue to follow Jesus where he leads, learn what he is teaching me, and change and grow at the rate his plan for my life requires. The church must change. It’s no longer appropriate for us to merely gather in our church buildings each week, saying, “This is how we do church. Take it or leave it!” Each of us Christ-following Christians must embrace change and growth and we must go out from our gatherings shining the light, sharing the grace, and touching our communities and our world with Jesus’ love. Let’s not ask Jesus to leave us unchanged! He might do it!
Father, I pray for leaders whom you have commissioned to bring about change in lives and churches and communities to have enough inspirational motivating force and enough wisdom to lead at the optimum rate of change. I pray for the people in our churches to be responsive to the changes we need to make to reach our communities and the next generation for Christ. Please help us! Amen.