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October 18, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“The men who tended them ran off and reported it in the town and the countryside, and people went to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the man who had been demon-possessed by the legion, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. The eyewitnesses described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and told about the pigs. Then they began to beg Him to leave their region. As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed kept begging Him to be with Him. But He would not let him; instead, He told him, ‘Go back home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you.’ So he went out and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and they were all amazed.”—Mark 5:14-20 (HCSB)
Have you ever witnessed a miracle? The healing of a family member, the salvation of a friend, the restoration of a relationship, or even just the sun rising and setting, the birds chirping, or the flowers blooming? When you think about it, we’re surrounded by miracles every day!
In today’s story, the people of Gerasenes witnessed Jesus perform an incredible miracle where He cast out demons who were possessing a man. One would expect them to rejoice and stand in amazement at the sight of this restored man, right?
The people actually reacted with great fear and begged Jesus to leave them which parallels the demons who, as we read yesterday, also begged Jesus to leave and stop “tormenting” them. This unexpected reaction reminds me of how we often do the same thing. Whether it be a believer or a non-believer, the name and presence of Jesus always bring conviction. His holiness and power do exactly what they should do: remind us of our imperfections. Therefore, His presence may be uncomfortable for many of us—especially those of us stuck in sin.
However, this miracle also showcases Jesus’ kindness, grace, and love, so why did the people still want him to leave? Imagine a sick child who purposely avoids taking their medicine because they don’t want to go to school or stop receiving special treatment from their family. The child needs the medicine just like we need Christ’s forgiveness and salvation, but our sinful desires, like those of the child, hinder us from being transformed! These people knew that encountering the grace of Christ would produce both a heart and lifestyle transformation which they were unwilling to accept.
Now I can only imagine how this man must have felt at this moment. He probably felt sad, isolated, and unloved as he saw people ask Jesus—the Man who just freed him—to leave! Yet when he pleads for Christ to stay, Jesus also responds unexpectedly. Instead of pointing this man away from the very people who so stubbornly desired to remain in their sin, He commands him to go right back to them and proclaim what He had done for him.
Just like this man, we’ve all been set free from the chains of sin and death. We must not be afraid to share the good news of Christ with others by telling our personal miracle stories, even to those who may be against Jesus. We must also let go of our stubbornness and shame, constantly surrendering our sinful struggles at His feet so we may continually be transformed.
DIG: What is your personal miracle story?
DISCOVER: What sinful desires keep you from embracing the transformative grace and love of Jesus?
DO: Share with someone how Jesus is transforming you.