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Go away – for ever

When he [Jesus c. AD 32] came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two evil-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And notice this: they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the evil spirits begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and notice this: the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the evil-possessed men. And notice this: the entire city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region. Matthew 8: 28
 

This incident in the life of Jesus of Nazareth illustrates well the rejection which began to arise against him – and how it became the democratically-obtained decision of an entire city to beg him to leave not only their city but also their region….

Are democratically obtained decisions always correct decisions?

In Egypt in the past few days the democratically-elected President Morsi was ousted by the Egyptian Army – in the interests of the people….. The watching world doesn’t really know whether this is right or wrong. People are killing one another there in an argument over whether a democratically-elected President can be so “undemocratic” that he should be undemocratically ousted.

It seems that a decision as to the “rightness” of either side (given both claim to be “democratic” and to be “right”) will rest on the outcome. If the outcome is ongoing civil war the decision will have been wrong. If a peaceful transition occurs – the ousting will have been “right”.
 
 
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‘Sin is essentially rebellion against the rule of God.’ (Charles Colson, one-time Special Counsel to President Nixon, 1931-2012)

Is that how we in Jersey make decisions as to “rightness”? Does the Island say that the decision is “right” if the outcome (the effect on us) is a good outcome? For example: “Gambling is fine if we make money out of it!

Going back to the incident in bold above we read that "the entire city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region."

This decision was “democratic” – it was made by “the entire city”. It was also made on the basis of “outcomes” – the outcome of Jesus’ brief visit to them. That visit has occasioned awful financial loss (a large herd of pigs destroyed) and unemployment (many herdsmen without work). For the entire city the “evil” was in the outcome, was in the results – there seemed to be no conception that the real, terrifying thing was evil itself – evil within themselves and their community.

The entire city had been told about “what had happened to the evil-possessed men” – their wonderful release and transformation. But that didn’t alter their unanimous decision to ask Jesus, the only man they had ever met who could deal with evil within - to leave not only “their city” but also “their region”.
 
 
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‘Sin is man’s declaration of independence from God.' (Anon.)

What do you think happened to evil in their city and region?

Was there anyone left in the city and region who could deal with evil, who could change bad people – people like those two men - inside?

…..they begged him to leave….” He did. Only the formerly evil-possessed men remained. At least they would continue to say what had happened to them and who it was who had brought about such a fantastic change in them.
 
 
Richard Syvret

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