So it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed Him, for they were all waiting for Him. (Luke 8:40)
Waiting For Jesus
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are threatened by Jesus and those who anxiously await the coming of the Son of God. When Jesus traveled to Decapolis or the land of the Gadarenes, He encountered a demon-possessed man afflicted for a long time. The man wore no clothes, did not live in a house and was driven by the demons in the wilderness as a mad man. Jesus had compassion on the man and healed him of his malady driving the demons into a herd of swine which ran violently down a steep place into the lake and drowned. When the people of the city heard of what Jesus did, they asked Jesus to depart from their region. They were threatened by what Jesus did ignoring the miracle of healing the certain man possessed by the demons named Legion. Their concern was more for the loss of the herd of swine than the saving of a man. Jesus was told to leave the area and He did. In contrast, the people of Capernaum welcomed Him, for they were all waiting for Him. They were anxious for the man from Nazareth to come to their land to be received with pleasure and excitement. There was a certain eager expectancy for Jesus to come as the attitude of the people was far different from those whom the Lord had just left. Great things would follow as a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, would seek the help of Jesus to heal his twelve-year-old daughter. Sadly the girl died before Jesus arrived but this did not dissuade the Lord as He raised her from the dead. Before Jesus arrived at the home of Jairus, a woman with an issue of blood for twelve years sought to touch the hem of the Lord’s garment for healing and through her faith received cleansing. Two wonderful stories of healing but these stories would not be told in the land of the Gadarenes. They had refused to allow Jesus to stay.
Jesus was not always welcomed when He came into a region. The days at Capernaum must have been a time of great energy for Jesus to see the faces of the people happy to have Him in their midst. They were not the faces of the hypocritical Pharisee or the pious Jew who humbled himself for self-glory or the hatred of the Jewish leaders who wanted to kill Jesus. What the Lord saw when He came into Capernaum were the faces of happy people eager to see Him, listen to His teaching and welcome Him with open arms into their homes. The hearts of the people were opened to the coming of Jesus as a time of joy and renewal to hear God’s word spoken clearly. They were waiting for Him to return and He relished the opportunity to be among those who welcomed Him and were eager to see Him come back to their town. This kind of spirit was not as often as Jesus would have liked because many were angered by what Jesus taught. He spoke the words of the Fathers and while many received His words with gladness, many more walked away and refused to follow Him. Tracing the steps of Jesus throughout His life was a menagerie of people who loved and adored Him and also many who hated and reviled Him. It seems impossible to see Jesus in the light of the Gadarenes. They wanted the miracle worker to leave their region because He threatened them. On the other hand, those of Capernaum welcomed Him with open arms with great joy He had come back to them. Eventually the hopeless crowd would have sway over the heart of Pilate and demand Jesus be crucified. This followed the triumphant arrival of Jesus just a few days earlier where the people lined the path with branches from the trees and a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road as Jesus passed by. At first, Jesus was welcomed and in a short time was killed on a cross. Pilate knew Jesus had been delivered up because of the envy of the Jewish leaders. Like the Gadarenes, they denied the miracles of Jesus and preferred to have the man from Nazareth killed.
Most men are like the people of Decapolis and are threatened by the teaching of the Son of God. The Bible is reviled by those who see themselves as a reflection in the mirror of God’s word for who they really are. Jesus did a wonderful thing for the Gadarene man but the people drove Jesus from their region. There is no more that God can do to show His love and mercy to the sinful nature of man than sending His only begotten Son but the vast majority of souls will not accept God’s love. Jesus died for the same hearts that despise Him, reject Him and refuse to listen to Him. There will come a day when Jesus will return and there will be a multitude who will welcome Him when He returns. These are the souls who are waiting for Him with anxious hearts of joy eagerly looking for and longing for His return. They will know the joy of God’s love and see first-hand the power of His grace when He says to those on His right hand, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.” No more miracles were done for the Gadarenes because they could not believe in Jesus. Sadly, when the final day of judgment arrives, all the souls who rejected the Son of God will know and believe Him to be the Son of God with power to take away the wrath of God and will face that wrath in eternal darkness. Be among the number that welcomes Jesus and wait for His return. Let the power of God change your life to obey His will and find the grace of a loving God to the salvation of your soul. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.