Matthew 12:43-45: Unclean Spirit
Posted by adventbiblestudy on December 18, 2011
Matthew 12:43-45 KJV When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. (44) Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. (45) Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Well after sunset, while Jesus was listening to His disciples discussing the events of the day, a man dressed in rich apparel came to Him, begging for relief. “Master, you have to help me. I have not been able to sleep for weeks. My mind seems to be going. I cannot focus an anything. I have headaches which last for days. I have tried everything, talked to everyone, no one, or nothing seems to help. What is wrong with me?”
Jesus didn’t say a word. He looked the man over from head to toe. He could tell this man was well to do. Based on his dress and the manner in which everything matched, and accented, Jesus could tell the man still had his wits about him.
After a long pause of silence, the man began questioning Jesus again, his gold bracelets chiming through the night air as he gestured with his hands and arms to emphasize his point. “Are you going to answer me? Is there a reason you will not acknowledge me? I know you helped others. I’ve heard the stories about you. Are they true? I thought you would help anyone.” Jesus asked a question, “are you willing to believe?” The man answered, “believe what? What am I supposed to believe, that you can heal? I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think you could heal me. Do you know what it would do to my reputation if people knew I was here to see you? Do you know who you are dealing with? I can help you more than you can imagine.” Jesus asked, “who is it I am dealing with? What is your name?” The man answered, “I am Machi.”
Jesus turned to His disciples and asked, “do you think this man is ready to be healed?” As if knowing the answer, His disciples held their peace. None of them wanted to answer the inevitable question. Jesus turned to Machi and asked, “have your sins been forgiven?” Machi looked at Jesus with a mixture of anticipation, guilt, and doubt. He had heard stories about Jesus claiming to have the ability to forgive sins. Machi thought to himself, what sins do I have that need to be forgiven? As he looked into Jesus’ eyes his mind began to wonder over some of his business transactions, the manner in which he treated his servants and hired workers. Machi quickly looked away, and replied, “I know I need forgiveness, can you forgive me?”
Jesus kept looking at Machi, but could not make eye contact. Finally He said, “according to the willingness of your heart, your sins are forgiven. You know what needs to be done. Go in peace, you have been set free.”
Machi thanked Jesus, and held out his hand with four silver coins he had set aside before the meeting. Jesus continued to look at his face, while Machi tried to avoid direct eye contact. After a few moments, Judas slide forward, holding his hand under Machi’s to accept the coins. Machi thanked Jesus again, turned and walked away into the night.
Abidan and Deborah were at a loss for words as they watched a group of men remove their possessions from their meager home. It consisted of only one small room, but at least it was a roof over their heads. Deborah held Prisca, the youngest at six months in her arms. The others, Demas, Linus, and Mark, two, four, and six years old, gathered tightly around her. All Abidan could do is hold his wife in an attempt to comfort her.
Seven months ago Abidan accepted a job promising fair wages, a house, and hope for the future. With another baby on the way, Abidan wanted to build a new life with security for his family. Instead he found his hours and duties extended, wages reduced, and now, the house he was promised was given to a family with older sons, a fresh, low cost source of labor for the landlord.
Abidan waited for the men to leave before packing their possessions on the tiny cart they had purchased to move to their new home. His mind went over the long hours he had worked without complaints and the way he had been treated. His wages were changed a number of times. The landlord charged for food and provisions they had never received. Machi accused Abidan of visiting the fields, vineyards, and orchards at night to gather food for his family. Machi set a value, added interest, and deducted it from Adidan’s wages. This left him little, or nothing to live on. Now with winter coming on, he found himself in a much worse situation than the one they left.
It began raining before Abidan finished loading the cart. They had no advance notice before being evicted from their home. Abidan sent up a silent prayer, wondering where his family was going to spend the night. As they headed down the rode, the sun set, the rain picked up, and the temperatures dropped. They walked along the road for more than an hour before Abidan decided to seek some shelter under a tree, which offered little resistance to the driving rain. Adidan did his best to make a temporary shelter from a carpet and a few limbs from the tree. At least it offered some protection from the driving rain.
Sleep did not come easy for Abidan or Deborah that night. They spent the entire night in silence, doing the best they could to cover the children, protecting them from the rain with their bodies. The storm had moved to the east during the night. The storm clouds on the horizon made for a spectacular sunrise, as flashes of lightening and the distant crash of thunder could still be heard. Abidan wondered if it was a sign of God’s displeasure with something he had done. Gazing into the distance Abidan prayed silently to God.
Deborah waited for Abidan to stir, indicating he was now ready to talk, before asking him, “what are we going to do?” Abidan continued gazing into the distance as he answered, “I don’t know. We don’t have enough money to stay at an inn, and I do not think anyone living on the villa will consider housing us.” The morning silence was broken by first a sneeze, than a mumbled cry from little Prisca. Deborah held the baby near to feed her as Adidan rummaged through the cart to find something for breakfast, he knew Demas, Linus, and Mark would wake up hungry.
After breakfast little Prisca began sneezing and crying. Deborah felt her forehead and called Abidan over. It seemed Prisca was running a fever, which made finding shelter all that more important. Abidan sat down, once again staring into the distance. After a moment he spoke up. “I was going to suggest we head back home. I know we could live with my parents until I found work, but it is a four day trip. I am not sure Prisca would be up for such a trip, and what will we do if it rains again, or gets colder?” Deborah suggested, “what if we go back to Machi? We could beg him for your job back and a place to stay. I am certain, once he sees our situation, he would be willing to help. Even if we sleep in the barn,, it would be better than spending another night outside.” Abidan agreed, “we have no other choice at this point. We can at least labor for Machi until Prisca is well enough to travel, and we can properly plan a trip.”
As they walked down the muddy rode, Abidan spoke a prayer out load for God and his family to hear. “Lord, you know our needs. You know the service I have provided, and you know what is in my heart. Lord we ask that you prepare the way for us, so that we see your will be done.”
As they entered the gate at the villa, many of the workers gave Abidan and his family a warm welcome. Some of them asked why he was pulling a loaded cart. Abidan did not want to answer, but quickly changed the subject. At last they reached Machi’s large house, and requested a meeting. After a long wait of more than an hour, the servant returned. “Machi is very busy today. Can you come back in the morning?” A lump grew in Abidan’s throat when he heard the reply. After a moment he composed himself and asked, “since we have to wait until morning, is there any place my family and I can spend the night?” The servant replied, “I will ask.” He turned and walked back into the house. After a short wait, the servant returned to announce, “all the quarters are filled. You are welcome to ask if anyone is able to put you up for the night.”
Abidan felt crushed. There was no one he could think of at the moment who may be able to help him. Sadly he walked back to his family to share the news. Just as he was about to explain the situation he heard someone shout his name. Turning around he saw Mark, one of the other servants who helped him become aquatinted with his chores and the layout of the villa when he first arrived. Mark came up to him, greeting Abidan with a more than welcome hug. After Abidan explained the situation, Mark declared, “there is no problem, you and your family are more than welcome to stay with me for a few days. Martha and the children are away visiting her mother at the time.” Abidan answered with an instant, “praise the Lord, bless you Mark. You certainly are an answer to prayer.”
On the way to the house Prisca developed a cough. The warmth of a fire and cozy house was a welcome thought, and answer to prayer. Once inside the house Deborah unwrapped Prisca, instantly realizing she was running a very high fever. Deborah asked Mark if he could warm some water to bath the baby. Mark was more than happy to oblige.
Prisca cried throughout her bath, and continued through dinner. After the previous night the tiny house seemed like a palace, the meager meal seemed like a feast. Abidan and Deborah were not at a loss to show their gratitude, and would have enjoyed the hospitality more if it were not for the deteriorating condition Prisca displayed. That evening she was the focus of family prayer.
In the morning Abidan headed out of the house before the others awoke. He wanted to arrive early for his audience with Machi. He arrived more than a half hour early, rehearsing every word along the way, and remained in constant prayer. The morning activities on the villa had not yet begun when he arrived and knocked on the door. A few minutes later a servant arrived asking Abidan the nature of his business. Adidan responded, “I have an audience with Machi first thing in the morning, I hope I am not too early.” The servant replied, “he is still sleeping, you will have to wait.” Recognizing Adidan as a hired hand based on his dress, the servant closed the door behind him. Abidan sat down with his back against the wall expecting a long wait.
After a time, Abidan dozed off. Prisca’s crying and coughing had kept him up most of the night. He was startled out of his slumber when the door opened. It was only a servant going to fetch the morning supply of water for bathing and cooking. A series of trips to and from the well kept Abidan from dozing off again. Finally after more than a two hour wait the door opened and the head servant poked his head out. Abidan scrambled to his feet. The servant said, “Machi will see you now.”
Abidan was taken back by the size of the home and the splendor of its decor with an array of stone statues, bronze pieces, and expensive weavings hanging from the walls. Abidan had never seen such a home. The servant led him to the dining room where Machi was being served his breakfast. His wife and two young children, a boy and girl were also present. Abidan bowed himself low to the ground and waited for Machi to acknowledge his presence. “And what can I do for you?” Abidan rose to his feet. “Master, I have worked for you for nearly seven months. Yesterday we were asked to leave the home you have been renting to us as part of my wages. I do not know why we were asked to leave, I am hoping this has only been an oversight.” Machi dining on a few pieces of fruit barely made eye contact. He sucked the juice from his fingers, dried them on a linen napkin, looked up at Abidan and said, “I usually do not deal with such matters. I will have to consult with my head taskmaster in a day or so to look after into the matter.” Abidan responded with desperation in his voice. “Do you have any work for me and a place to stay? We were invited to spend the night at Mark’s home last night.” Machi quickly snapped back. “You spent the night on my property without my permission? You show your lack of respect by taking advantage of my hospitality, then you come in here begging for a job. How do you expect me to react to this? If I allowed you to stay on my land for free every free loader in the province will take advantage of my kind nature. You will have to find other living arrangements while I look into this matter.” In shock Abidan relied, “my little daughter, only six months old has a cough and a fever. We spent the night outside in the rain the other day and now she is sick.” Machi instantly snapped back, “if my taskmaster saw fit to release you of your duties, I am certain he had a very good reason.” With that, Machi waved his hand as a jester to have Abidan removed. On his way out Abidan pleaded, “master have mercy, if not for me, for my little one. Please sir, we can stay in the barn, or any where. I can work all day for one night lodging.” His pleading did no good at all. Machi had already decided the matter before his meeting, which was little more than a formality.
Abidan felt crushed. His heart sank inside of him. Two servants accompanied him to make certain he immediately vacated Mark’s house. Once again Abidan and his family were turned out into the street. Without saying a word, Abidan pulled the cart along the road headed for his parent’s home, four days away. With only two days worth of food and little money despair began to set it.
They walked nearly a mile before Deborah come to him, placing her free arm around him and asked, “where are we going?” She already knew the answer, buy could not think of another way of getting Abidan to open up. He responded, “to papa and momma’s house. We have no other choice.” Deborah could tell he did not want to talk at the moment, she only added, “by God’s will.
They walked all day without taking a break. The brave little boys could sense something was wrong, so they followed along in silence for the entire day. At sunset Abidan turned into a clearing along the road, put down the rails on the cart, and collapsed on the ground. Deborah handed little Prisca to Demas to hold while she gathered some dry bread, a few dried figs, and water from the cart. She spread the carpet out on the ground, and gathered the blankets. She went over to Abidan, held his hand and said, “this is not your fault. I know you are a hard working, honest man, and you did all you could do. Come let’s eat.” After blessing the food, they began eating. Deborah felt Prisca’s forehead, which was burning up. She also noticed her short labored breathing, her crying had stopped. Deborah tried feeding Prisca, but she seemed to tired, or too week to eat. Now it was Deborah who began crying. Abidan held her in his arms asking, “what is wrong?” Deborah answered, “it is little Prisca, she is so sick.” Abidan offered what little comfort he could give, “we will have to wrap up in the blankets tonight to stay warm.” Now that the sun had set, the temperature quickly dropped. It did not take long for all of them to fall asleep.
The long journey had taken its toll. The entire family slept so soundly no one stirred until they were awakened by the sound of a passing caravan. Abidan propped himself up on one arm to view the passing spectacle. Deborah stirred for a moment before opening her eyes. Little Prisca was bundled up next to her. As she pulled back the scarf covering Prisca’s face, she let out a scream. She could instantly tell by the lifeless look on Prisca’s face, she had passed away during the night. Abidan jumped to his feet as Deborah let out a series of painful wails. Some of the men from the caravan rushed over to offer aid. There was nothing they could do as they looked over at Deborah holding the lifeless body of her child.
Machi paced back and forth in furious anticipation. “Where is that caravan? They were supposed to be here by nightfall and they are now a day late. They are supposed to deliver my wife’s anniversary presents and the day is almost over. If they are not here soon, heads are going to roll.” Machi stormed into the house shouting out a series of senseless orders and commands, taking his frustration out on whomever was within eyesight and the sound of his voice. Shortly after sunset a servant announced the caravan had arrived. In a furious rage Machi went to the caravan master to demand an explanation. “What took you so long? You had better have a good reason for being late. I gave you specific orders to be here on time. You were supposed to be here yesterday.” The caravan master simply replied, “we had to stop and help bury a little baby. A young couple we met along the road, Abidan and Deborah just lost their baby, Prisca. The least we could do for them was to escort them to the town we had just left and make certain proper burial arrangements could be made. They had no money, so I paid for the services.”
Machi stood with a shocked look on his face, his mouth hanging wide open. The rage in his eyes turned to fear. He could not find a single word to say, he turned and walked to the house in a quickened pace.
His demon had been waiting for a moment like this, waiting in the back ground of the struggle between right and wrong. He know exactly when to strike and how. The demon was so sure Machi would fall, be brought along seven other demons more crafty than himself. His demon announced, “it is time for us to take back what is ours. This is our world, and we will not give up anything without a fight.” The first demon had already been working on his wife.
Machi slammed the door behind him. The entire house knew he was in a rage, and were smart enough to stay out of his way. Machi stomped through the living room, dining room, and down the hall to his room where he found his wife packing cloths, jewelry, and all of the money on hand.
Machi demanded, “what are you doing?” Judith snapped back, “I am leaving, you can’t even remember our anniversary. I am going home.” Machi relied, “you can’t do that. You know you can’t.” Judith shot back, “I can do whatever I please. You know you would be nothing without my father and his money. And both of them are leaving with me, not to mention the children. All you ever cared about was your money.”
The conversation reminded Machi of the anniversary presents outside on the caravan. He quickly left the room to retrieve them. Heading back outside he found himself staring at an empty court. “Where did the caravan go?” Machi shouted for his servants, but all of them had vacated the area in an attempt to avoid his wrath. Machi ran around to the other side of the house to see if he could find the caravan. As he stopped, he realized, they were supposed to transport the harvest to market. Not only had he lost the merchandise he already paid for, he now had no way of transporting his goods to market.
Over the next few days everything that could go wrong did go wrong. After hearing about Prisca, most of his workers left for other jobs. After hearing the news of his wife leaving, creditors would have nothing to do with him. Machi could not pay another merchant to transport or take his crops. He watched as his harvested crops rotten on the ground, while fruits ripened on the vine and trees and fell to the ground.
After only a few weeks Machi’s villa was over run by mice. It did nothing to relieve the pain of wondering the large home alone. He could not get his mind off his wife and the memory of his children. While they were present he had no idea how to show his appreciation. Now he would give his life just to see them again.
With no income he could not pay his employees. Because of the way he treated them, not one had any reason to stay. Machi could not figure out why they did not display any type loyalty. Chores went undone. Machi had to figure out how to make meals on his own. He could not sleep. The chamber pots went untouched. The entire house developed a most unpleasant smell, which attracted hordes of flies. Machi was alone watching his home, income, villa, and life fall apart before his eyes. He wondered what he had done to deserve such a curse.
This entry was posted on December 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm and is filed under Gospel Messages Matthew. Tagged: Matthew 12:43-45: Unclean Spirit, taketh with himself seven other spirits, walketh through dry places. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.