What The Lord Said To Me Today
The Cost

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Tonight, I'm meditating in Matthew 8:28-34 at the Lord's direction through the wonderful Holy Spirit of God.

"And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tomps, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art hou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and , behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts."

First of all, I notice a new thing tonight: If you want to grow something illegal, where do you grow it? Where nobody goes! Pig farming was illegal in Israel, yet here we have a herd of swine in the Gergesenes, or Gaderenes. Now this area was a little South and West of the Sea of Galilee: a bit out of the way, but still part of Israel. The area was notorious. These two men lived in these tombs. Mark said they could not be bound with chains. These were violent, fearsome men who ran naked. The demons inside them were murderous and suicidal, as is evidenced by the fate of the pigs.

Yet, here we have a herd of swine, within visual range of these demoniacs. It occurs to me that the owners of this herd of 10,000 pigs had made a deal with the devil. We know from Mark that these demons were called legion. We know that a legion of soldiers contained from 4,000 to 10,000, usually the higher number. We know this herd was within close proximity to these tombs. These pig handlers had made a deal with the devil. You scare the people away and we can grow our illegal herd. They were probably providing food for these demoniacs in exchange for their services. Ah, but here comes Jesus to overturn the tables.

Now, why do you suppose that this town, in mass, rejected Christ? It is my hypothesis that the whole town and all it's people had made similar deals with the devil. They were an out of the way area. This action of Jesus made it clear that following him resulted in the exposure of illegal activity in their region and the financial loss for the ones who had profited from the presence of the demons.

I am reminded at this point of the slave girl in Acts, possessed by a spirit of divination. She was used by her handlers to make a profit. After she was delivered from this evil spirit, her handlers were angry and sought to harm the apostles. It is therefore my belief that all the chief families of this area had invested in this huge pig farming venture. It was the Gadarene Enterprise. And Jesus came to uncover it and render it unprofitable: and set two men free, of course. They lost everything they had and at that moment, their anger rendered them capable of doing nothing but nashing their teeth at Jesus.

Now, these set free men who had previously been demoniacs were going to expose this venture and the men of this area were going to be exposed before all Israel as lawbreakers. Who knows what other lawlessness they were involved in. One thing is for sure. They knew Jesus could expose the rest since he had exposed the biggest venture. They chose to protect whatever they had left in this life of sin, rather than pay THE COST.

The cost of following Jesus is a living sacrifice. He who seeks to lose his life, for Jesus sake, will find it. He who finds his life, will lose it. We cannot serve both God and mammon. The choice is always there and THE COST is always before us. We can choose.

If we want to follow Jesus, he is going to point to some things and tell us to put them away or give them up. Other things, he will cause to dry up in our hands. Still others he will place in our hands for a season. One thing may be impermissable this year, and fine the next for the believer who walks with Jesus. The chief thing is: we must always be willing to pay THE COST.

What if we fail, and say no? He'll just come around again, later, in a different way to get at the same objective: your sanctification. He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it. Hallelujah!

Stephen L. Bening
a servant and prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ

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