Are we sure there's strength in numbers?

Last week, I taught on Jesus and the Demoniac. Jesus and twelve disciples step out of the boat and are confronted by a man who’s screaming, cutting himself, and charging at them. The disciples are not mentioned in either retelling of this story. I don’t know this, but I choose to believe they’re not mentioned because they were so afraid, and no one likes to be included in a story where they’re the coward. But Jesus was different. He stood there - stoically, in my mind - waiting on the man to make his way before Him. 

The demons are terrified of Jesus. Makes sense now why they were screaming. They begged Jesus not to torment them. Our common image of fluffy, soft Jesus doesn't fit here. Jesus is anything but soft. He’s actually the only person in this story who doesn’t seem terrified. Demons are terrified and scream, the disciples are terrified into silence. Jesus just speaks, “What is your name?” 

The demons collectively say their name is Legion, for there are many. A Legion could be a thousand to three thousand soldiers. No matter their number, they bow before Jesus and await their punishment. While they follow the prince of darkness, they all know The King when they see Him. 

What I find so interesting about this is - evil is able to come together and speak in unison. Amazing when we consider how difficult it is for humans to be unified. Republicans, Democrats, Baptists, Presbyterians, Christians, we’re all divided, even in our own camps; yet evil presents a unified front. 

Makes you wonder if unity is a virtue. But we’ve experienced this. The bandwagon of complaint is much easier to jump on than the one of compliment. How often have you found yourself unified with people you don’t even like simply because you all find a common enemy? How often have your arguments gained steam the more you mulled them over? How often do  bitterness or rage grow as you stew in them for hours and hours? We become unified with people because we all talk badly about the boss, our spouses, the government, the weather; the list goes on and on.

Negative unity is like a drug. It’s intoxicating and addictive. But the fate of negativity is tragedy. Legion abandons the man at the command of Christ and enters the unclean swine on a nearby hillside. 

Why would anyone choose to live with the pigs? 

Negativity has a way of helping us make more bad decisions. They choose the pigs and seal their fate as they hurl themselves off a cliff, all the while functioning, of course, in

Perfect

Unison. 

They had the numbers and the unity, but negativity always ends in destruction.

 

Just because you can get people to agree with your side doesn’t mean you’re right. 

Just because you have the numbers doesn’t mean you’re headed in the right direction. 

Numbers and unity are not synonymous with success. They may just be a legion of negativity whose end in our lives, in our marriages, in our relationships, with our jobs, is unified destruction.