Sometimes we hear the Gospel and think of “just another story from another time in history.” In truth every story in the Scripture is for out benefit today. When we hear the story of the Gadarene Demoniac, although we may not be demon possessed, there are many demons that can cripple us and leave us alone in the wilderness. The joy we can have through hearing this Gospel lesson is that God is always protecting us, and He has the power to free us from the demons that control us. Whether it be the passions such as greed and pride, or illnesses such as depression, God can and will heal us if we put our trust and faith in Him.
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Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Be Transfigured, where we invite you to live a new life in Christ. We prayed that this episode is a blessing to you and will inspire you to rededicate your life to Jesus Christ. We invite you to join us for worship or study at the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Florida, where visitors are always welcome. We'll be back in a few moments to share some more information about our ministry.
My brothers and sisters, this morning in the gospel, we hear a very common story, a story of demons, and we see here that there were so many demons in this man's body that when Jesus asked his name, they responded, "Legion." There were so many demons that had taken over his life. And the demons were so bold to say to Christ, "Why do you come to torment us?"
And Christ had compassion because he had told these demons to leave this man, but the demon's thinking they were smart said, "I'll tell you what God, instead of sending us out into the abyss, let us go into the pigs. There's this nice little herd of pigs over there. Let us go into them." You see, even the pigs were protected by God. The demons cannot do anything without authority from God, without permission from God. They were not even allowed to enter into the pigs.
And for me, that's a very crucial part of this story, because we live through many demons in our life. It may not be the exact same demons that this man had. It may not be, we could say actual demonic powers from the devil, although we do believe those things are real.
For many of us, for most of us, I would even say for all of us, the demons that we struggle with are our passions. Not are we passionate about our job, but the passions that tend to cripple us, the worst of which is pride and our ego and greed. But it doesn't end there. Other passions, other struggles that we may have, like depression, these things can cripple our lives. We can think that we are held down in chains just like the men in this morning's gospel. And we can wonder, we have no help. We have nobody. We're all by ourselves. This poor man was living in the wilderness among the graves. He was living at the cemetery, in our modern thinking, because he had no one to help him or so he thought. Or so we think.
How many times do we go through life thinking where's my help going to come from? And this is why this story is so wonderful for us to listen to because our hope and our help is in Christ. And the comfort and the protection in knowing that God is protecting us. God is covering us over with his mercy and his grace and his protection and his spirit, and that if the demons could not go into the pigs without God's permission, surely they're not going to come into us. Surely, we are more important than a herd of pigs.
You remember last year I spoke to you about the Mati ? I'm going to say it again this year. The Mati has no power. God has the power. And it's time we start living that truth. It's time we start getting the evil eye, the little stupid little blue eyes out of our houses, out from our cars, and put our trust in Christ, put our trust in the cross of Christ and in his love and his hope.
If we think God is not strong enough that we need some blue googly eye to help us, we're in trouble. You're laughing, but I see it in your houses and I see it in your cars and I see it on your wrists. Take them off and throw them away. Show your faith in Christ.
Don't be held down by the demons in your life. This young man crawled to Christ, being held down by so many struggles in his life, crawled to Christ and Christ freed him from those things. And he can free us from our struggles, from our pain, from our suffering, from our passions. Even some things like depression. God can heal us if we put our trust and faith in him.
But don't be like the crowd that chased God away. When the demons went into the pigs, the pigs ran off the cliff and they lost all their livelihood, and the city would rather have the pigs than God. And they chased him away. My brothers and sisters, don't be like them. Don't be those who would rather choose the comforts of life instead of God. Allow God to come into your life and give him the benefit of the doubt. Trust that he will chase the demons away.
And sometimes we may have a little struggle, have to find some new way of making a living after the pigs go into the sea. But don't you think it's worth the new life in Christ? When this man was healed, Christ said to him, "Now go back to your town and tell everybody what God has done for you." And the word began to spread like wildfire. The wonderful things God has done freed this man from all the things that were crippling him and keeping him down in life. And he was no longer all alone in the wilderness, but he was embraced and welcomed into the community because God has the power if we allow him. Glory to God, for all things.
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