I don’t have anything against deviled ham. It is not a part of my diet but a lot of other folks eat it on a regular basis. Jesus made a batch of deviled ham on the eastern shores of Galilee one afternoon. I simply want to offer up the steps used to make it. Although Jesus didn’t start the process, He certainly finished it. Listen as Luke recounts the story.
Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time.” Luke 8:26-27
Luke recalled that this man “had demons for a long time”. In reality, there is only one “devil”, but there are many “demons.” The Bible speaks of demon possession rather matter-of-factly, without apology or excuse. While some would like to say this man was not possessed, but simply insane or troubled… Jesus sure thought him under demonic control. C.S. Lewis wrote about this confusion in his work called The Screwtape Letters.
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about demons (devils). One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased with both errors …with the same delight.
Our world plays with spiritual forces rather than taking them seriously. Demon possession has become a matter for Hollywood rather than the church. We tend to see these things as harmless when they are far from it. The power of the Devil is just as real today as it was in Jesus’ time and we are seeing increased evidence of it. At first glance, you might not think a story like this one has any application to your life…. but it does. While you might not find any association with the man living in the tombs, the society which put him there resembles ours on many levels. So how do you make deviled ham? First, you got to get rid of certain things…
The Absence of Good
Do you know what really scared the people in Luke’s story?
- Someone possessed?
- Someone in chains?
- Someone screaming?
- Someone cutting themselves?
- Someone speaking with another voice?
- Someone running around a graveyard naked?
Luke writes at the end of this story: “When they (the community) came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.”
Amazing! I’ve got to tell you, if I’m walking down the road and some naked man in chains comes out of the cemetery yelling at me… his appearance would unnerve me. But in this story, the locals have become accustomed to his behavior. What frightens them is that this man who was evil, becomes good. What frightens them is the holy, not the unholy.
Doesn’t it strike you as strange that these people were afraid of the right things and comfortable with the wrong things? They were afraid of that which ought to comfort them. They were very much at ease with the very things that ought to haunt them with fear. The scariest thing of all… their story is our story. Because the greatest problem facing our society today is that we have become all too comfortable with evil. At this point, I could throw a lot of statistics at you to prove the point of how our society has changed in the last fifty years. I believe you already now the truth. Bottom-line, our society has grown far too comfortable with evil.
The haunting aspect of Luke’s Gospel is that the people had grown so comfortable with the presence of evil… they were now accommodating it. Here is a man filled with so many demons, his name is Legion. He has an army of demons living inside him. Luke talks about him as being a frightening and dangerous individual…. so much so that the community had to chain him hand and foot. It appears people in the community simply took turns watching over him. No one was bothered by the job. They were so comfortable with these situations that now what really frightened them was the freeing presence of Christ.
In the Old Testament the prophet Jeremiah talked about the spiritual condition of his generation. Their lifestyles too were so degenerated the cities were filled with crime. Jeremiah looked around at them and said, “Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” (Jeremiah 6:15)
Ouch! That sounds like our culture. There is something missing in our society. We have no shame. We are so accepting of the behavior and the lifestyles of the immoral we too have forgotten how to blush.
So the first-step to making “deviled ham” is to get rid of the good in life and grow comfortable with evil.