[b]Will you say to Jesus "Depart from me?"[/b]
The Gadarenes prayed to Jesus to depart from their coasts (Mark 5:17). They had good reason to do so. He purged demons from a man by ordering them to enter a herd of swine which then ran down a slope into the sea and drowned. The Gadarenes thus lost their property and food for themselves and their children. How would you have reacted if the entrance of Jesus into your life had meant the loss of your home, your car, your bank account or your job? Perhaps you would continue to use holy phrases but not meaning them. The Gadarenes uttered a prayer which was at least sincere, "Depart from us, Jesus."
Jesus is accustomed to being driven out. In Holman Hunt's renowned picture, The Light of the World, the Lord is shown begging entrance at a house, His feet turned, not towards the door, but towards the roadway. He has more chance of being refused than accepted, because to accept Him costs so dearly.
The apostle Paul writes, "For Christ Jesus my Lord, I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Philippians 3:8). Do we also look upon our nice furniture, a new car, the better job we just got, the money we possess, as upon repulsive dung? He wished to get away from itthe sooner the better. Is this our attitude towards earthly possessions? Whoever wishes to win Christ must lose them. Friendship with Jesus is costly. Faith alone saves, but faith does not exist alone. It is always accompanied by great sacrifices for Christ's sake.
The first revelation of God was given in Hebrew, a language in which the verb "to have" does not exist. You cannot say in Hebrew, "I have so much money, I have a house or a car," because the Hebrews did not "have" anything. They did not even have the concept of "having." The only possessor of all possessions is God, and you can possess Him. Regarding all other things, you can only be their steward. This is why Christians ask the heavenly Father to give them daily bread. Seemingly, they already have it in a cupboard or the money to buy it, and need not ask for it. But neither the cupboard, the bread, nor the money is theirs. It is God's bread and He can command you not to eat today, but to fast. You can eat the bread from the cupboard only with His permission.
Preachers who promise prosperity, good health and continual joy if you come to Jesus, lead you astray. On the contrary, you might lose a "herd of swine." You are meant to lose all. "He that forsakes not all that he has, cannot be my disciple" says the Lord (Luke 14:33). Because of this, the real prayer of most people is not what they speak with their lips, but, "Depart from us, Jesus." Happily this is not the prayer of all.
In Lebanon, Christians are killed by Communist-indoctrinated and armed Palestinians, but God's true children do not lose their lives by bullets. They have already lost them at the moment of their conversion. Their lives are no longer their own.
I share with you a letter found on the body of a Lebanese Christian student aged twenty-two, who was shot while peacefully on his way to Nabha to share Christmas with his family there.
If my foreboding is fulfilled that I will be killed on this way, I tell my mother and my family: Do not be sad, do not weep exceedingly. My absence will be short and we will see each other in heaven. There joy reigns. Do not fear. God's mercy will reunite us. I have only one request. Forgive from all your heart those who have killed me. Pray with me that my blood, though it is that of a sinner, might be accepted for the sins of Lebanon, that it might be accepted together with the blood of the victims of all religions . . . May my death teach men love . . . Pray and pray and love your enemies. If Abou-Khalil can give some of his planks for a coffin, I will lie very well in it. Please, make no burial meal. May men forgive me. I am dust. I, a sinner, in Jesus Christ, Ghasibe Kayrouz.
I am a Jew and feel proud to have such an Arab as my brother in Christ. When he accepted Jesus, he had lost everything, even the desire to live on earth one more day than God ordained. He lost all enmity towards those who might take his life. Forgiving his murderers was as easy for him as breathing.
[i]- taken from Where Christ Still Suffers by R.Wurmbrand[/i]