Matthew’s Mad Men
Dorothy is an excellent Bible teacher that I trust and respect. She taught me how to “dig for treasures” in the simple stories of the Bible. Here is an example of us digging together in our latest e-mail exchange:
I’ve been thinking about a story found in Matthew 8:28-34.
In the story, Jesus heals two demon possessed men. The demons ask Jesus to permit them to go into the herd of swine. Jesus says “go” and the herd ran violently down the steep place and perished in the sea. Those who kept the swine fled, told everyone in the city what happened, including what happened to the two men, and the WHOLE CITY begged Jesus to depart from their region.
Here’s what I’ve been thinking about. I want to know if you think that I’m reading too much into the story or if my observations are ACTUALLY IN the story?
Doesn’t it seem odd to you that Jesus would allow an entire herd of swine to perish to heal just two men? I mean, didn’t people’s livelihood depend on those swine? It seems that Jesus was willing to sacrifice another person’s livelihood, or at the very least, short term profit to heal two men that would have been at the very bottom of the rung in society.
Is there a message here that people are more important than profit?
If I’m on the right track with this story, then what does this story tell us about how SOCIETY treats the least of these? At the end of the story, the WHOLE CITY comes out to beg Jesus to depart from their region. The people in the city had a choice, but it seems that they put their economic well-being ahead of the two men at the bottom of the rung.
So what might this story say to business owners, or political leaders? Could this story actually be teaching us that Jesus puts a priority on the poor and the outcast over the economic well-being of the business class?
I’d love to hear your insights.
I see and agree with your observations and your applications. There is a ton of treasure in this story
Ok. let’s kick it up a notch and view just a few!
I think I just saw some things. To get there, it helps me to understand that aspect of the story to know that the city of Gadera was maybe 8 miles inland from the Sea of Galilee, on the East side Jordan and the inhabitants were not Jews, they were Greeks. (Put in the introduction as it is in the Bible, well the “Greek” info maybe not.)
Yes Jesus took away their livelihood, so your obs-apps work, but also….
What were swine to Jews and where did that belief come from? (put in intro)
Wow! What had these keepers of the swine, these Gaderans, non-Jews just seen that day?
Do you see any part of what they had seen being deniable? What do you see there, as to what kinds of activity Jesus had been involved there?
Who all saw what Jesus did?
When they saw, what did they choose to do?
I am thinking, what other choices could they have made?
Also who did these amazing feats?
Do we know if anyone else been able to cure the two “crazy” men?
What had those crazy man been consigned to and were the locals affected in any way?
How do you see Jesus treat the crazy men?
Is it possible that Jesus’ treat of the men can that show us anything about Jesus?
What other ways might Jesus have responded to the demons’ request?
Is it possible that what Jesus did with the demons can show us anything?, maybe multiple anythings!
Could what Jesus did have sent any messages to the Gaderens?
I wonder? Could Jesus’ actions indicate any positive interest in the Gadarenes?
Who all saw these activities and decisions that day. Impact on each?
Has anything in this exchange pricked your thinking regarding this story?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.