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  • Writer's pictureDeborah

Arctic CottonGrass

Series: Flowers in the Desert

Luke 8:1-2 ESV

Matthew 8:28-33 ESV

Jeremiah 29:13 ESV

In some parts of the globe January can be the coldest month and with the extreme cold, often comes a feeling of cold dry desperation.

While I’ve never lived in the tundra, I learned there is (miraculously) plant life that can survive in extremely cold conditions. In the tundra, plants can survive the extreme cold by adapting ways to survive. They can “retain old leaves rather than dropping them. This conserves nutrients and helps protect the plant from cold, windscour, and desiccation. Other plants, “achieve extra protection by growing in dense mats or cushions.” ( tundra plants, such as, in dense mats or cushions.)

Like plants that learn to adapt in harsh conditions, God created humans to have a desire to survive and thrive.

Sometimes that’s not as easy as it sounds.

Take for example, Mary of Magdala, or commonly called Mary Magdalene.

We often think of Mary as the woman who went to the tomb to take spices to the body of Jesus on the morning immediately following the end of the Sabbath.

We might wonder why Mary thought it was important to attend to Jesus in the tomb.

We learn about Mary in Luke 8:1-2 where we are told Jesus, “went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out.”

In her life, Mary had been an outcast.

She was possessed by multiple evil spirits. Seven demons haunted her day and night. Because of her extreme condition, no one would go near her.

It seems like her only chance to survive was to stay away from everyone else. Basically, they left her alone to die. And probably, they hoped she would die.

Then Jesus came.

Jesus saw her.

Jesus called the demons out of her and healed her.

That wasn’t the only time Jesus healed those who were possessed by evil spirits.

In Matthew 8:28-33 we are told, “And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men.”

From this encounter Jesus had with the demon possessed, we learn that when a Jesus called the demons out, the demons immediately knew when they saw Jesus they were in trouble.

When the demons saw Jesus they knew who he was. The demons called Jesus Son of God.

The demons knew the power Jesus had over them and over life. They begged Jesus to send them away so they could live in a herd of pigs. Surprisingly, that’s what Jesus did. But, when the demons entered the pigs, they rushed down a steep bank and fell into the sea and drowned.

We have to remember that during that same time period the Roman authorities (the ruling class) only recognized Jesus as a threat after he started to attract the attention of large crowds. Yet, the demons immediately knew who Jesus was when they saw him.

We know from the Roman culture at the time that they dealt with the outcasts, like the demon possessed by isolating them from everyone else in society.

Mary of Magdala and the two demon possessed men were not accepted by anyone in society. They were outcasts. We know in the first century, lepers were also separated and they were forced to live in colonies outside the cities. No one attended to or even recognized the demon possessed, those who were gravely ill, or lepers.

It was remarkable that when Jesus came, He saw them. He attended to them and healed them.

Jesus brought them out of their cold and lonely existence into the light.

Years before the Prophet promised Israel in Jeremiah 29:13 when he wrote, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

When he came Jesus found those who needed, really needed to be healed. They were desperate for help and healing and Jesus found them.

Jesus saw them.

Jesus even touched them (which was unheard of at that time).

Jesus saw their cold and dry lonely souls and forever changed them.

God showed up. Right in the middle of their awful messed up lives, Jesus God sought them out and changed them forever.

I think it’s remarkable that Jesus touched and changed people that nobody else even knew existed.

Spiritual Practice: Jesus changes

Even today, Jesus changes. Give your struggle to Jesus and ask for a miracle.

In God, Deborah


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