“And they began to implore Him to leave their region.” (Mark 5:17)
Seriously? What kind of people would ask Jesus to leave their midst? Actually it might be much more common than we might first think!
In the present case in Mark 5, the people of the region of Gerasenes had seen the demonized man healed — but it was at the cost of two thousand pigs who were drowned in the sea after the demons went into them. Evidently that was not only too discomforting, but also too costly for these people. They would prefer that Jesus leave, lest He continue to upset their comfortable status quo.
That attitude towards Jesus is not as rare as one might imagine. Jesus — the REAL Jesus, not the “sanitized”, conventional Jesus that many of us have made in our own image — can indeed be very discomforting. He is iconoclastic, overturning idols; He shakes the complacent out of their apathy; He humbles the proud; He exposes the hypocrite. The real Jesus is often indeed way too controversial and costly for most of us. Thus it is not too difficult for one to imagine a group of us imploring Him to depart from among us.
The fact is, by repeatedly clinging to our comfortable religious traditions and selfishness, and by quenching His Spirit’s work among us, we may already have.