Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. (Luke 8:37)
This is a situation I find very curious. The people of the Gerasenes had a demon-possessed man living in their cemetery in chains and under guard and the demon’s control of the man was so great that the man tore off his clothes and was powerful enough to break his chains. And yet, at some level, the people of that region were okay with the man’s dreadful situation.
I can feel better about myself in a perverse manner when I know of someone who is worse off than me. That might help me to feel better, but I have no compassion on the one who is suffering. In fact, if they get better, I might have a problem because then I would have no one to whom I could feel superior.
The ideal to which Jesus compares all things is the fullness of life—being fully human and alive, healed and whole in all ways, living in a close personal relationship with God and with our fellow human beings—that everyone who looks to Him in faith will experience in the new heaven and earth.
Jesus’ mission is to reach down into the muck and the mire of our sin and suffering and lift us up into the ideal life which He wants to give to us. The healing that Jesus does, whether it is a healing recorded in the pages of the New Testament or a healing done in a hospital today, is always a foretaste of the ultimate healing to come. Those miraculous healings, for every healing is a miracle, are signposts from God which point us toward His Son, through whom our ultimate healing will come.
Because Jesus loves, forgives and accepts us, our dead spirit has been resurrected and healed and it already has fullness of life through Jesus.
So we can have compassion on those who suffer, not feeling sorry for them because they are worse off than us, but wanting fullness of life for them through Jesus. So we serve as Jesus’ hands and feet, lifting others out of the muck and the mire of their suffering so they can be open to Jesus.
Dear Jesus, help me to know the depths of Your compassion for me. Help me to have true compassion on those who suffer. Amen.