Matthew 8: 34

And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; …

How do you expect this sentence to end? I expected the whole city to turn out, fall at his feet and praise him. I thought the next line might be “and they marveled at the wonders he performed in their midst.” That is not how this story ends though. The rest of the passage reads:

And when they saw Him, they entreated him to depart from their region.

Now isn’t that a kick in the teeth? This passage is the conclusion of the story of the Gadarene demoniacs. The introduction to this story says that these two men were so violent that no one could use that road. Jesus cast out the demons, restoring the men and the thoroughfare at the same time. Two of the town’s citizens were restored and a major problem rectified. Yet the people’s reaction was to reject Jesus. It sounds ludicrous with the advantage of 2000 years of hindsight. The same thing happens today though and if they did it to Jesus, of all people; people are going to do it to his followers as well.

This does not diminish the message though. Just understand that even when you do the work of God, even when you preach the message God has personally given you to preach, you are still going to encounter resistance. Some people are not going to be able to receive your message even though it is directly from God himself. But take heart. They did it to Jesus too so you are in very good company.

I do not say that it is always easy to preach the message you have been given but be of good heart knowing that your obedience to God will be much more pleasant than even the rejection and criticism you must sometimes endure. People need to hear the word that God has given you. Don’t let fear have the final say. Do what you need to do knowing that even Jesus ran into critics but the message did get through and at least two people in that town were set free.