Jump Start # 2633
Mark 5:16 “And those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon possessed man, and all about the swine.”
We have begun assembling once again on Wednesday evening. It was just in time to kick off our summer series. It’s one of the highlights of the year for us. A themed series with visiting preachers every Wednesday for a couple of months. It’s expensive but it’s well worth it. We like to base our themes on hymns. There are so many great titles and the verses easily become the various topics. This year our summer series theme is “My eyes have seen your glory.” With the covid-19 problems, the two local preachers kicked this off, one of them was me. I spoke about the chorus line, “My life is forever changed.” Love that expression. So glad I got to preach that this last Wednesday. God has changed my life.
Our verse today is one of the great examples of that in the Scriptures. The demon possessed man, strong, chain breaking, screaming at night, naked, living among the tombs—a fright and a scare to most people, was changed by Jesus. The Lord drove those demons into a herd of pigs and they rushed into the sea and drowned. There were 2,000 pigs. That’s a lot of pigs. The men taking care of the pigs rush into town to tell the owners what happened. They just lost a lot of revenue. This is where our verse is found. They reported what happened to the demon possessed man and to the pigs. I expect the owners didn’t care about the demon possessed man, other than a local nuisance was taken care of. But the pigs, now that grabbed their attention. This Jesus had to go. And, that’s exactly what happened next. They come to the place and demand Jesus leave. I expect they were upset. Likely they were gentiles, since most Jews wouldn’t be raising hogs. A Jewish teacher wiped out our herd, is what they were thinking. There was no rejoicing in a man being changed.
Walking through the miracles of Jesus it is interesting to see how Jesus changed the lives of so many. You do not see Jesus preforming a miracle on someone who had a splinter in their finger. A man who had never seen in his life is given sight. Men with the fatal disease of leprosy are cleansed. The dead are brought back to life. These were life changing events. These are things that one would never ever expect.
And, greater than all of that are the thousands and thousands of people since those days whose eternities have been changed by the life saving blood of Jesus. Forgiven. Adopted. And, changed, those renegades are now disciples of Jesus. Their natures have changed. The way they think has changed. The way they see life has changed. What drives them has changed. What grabs their attention has changed. From the inside to the outside, these people have been changed by Jesus. Attitudes, appearance, language, and behavior has all been restricted and molded after the Savior. Kindness, forgiveness and grace now run through their veins. Serving and helping others is part of their DNA. They have a fondness for worship and a love for all things that are right. Generous, gentle, and good to be with, these are the people of God.
Each of them has a past and that past didn’t look like what you see today. Each has been marred by sin and mistakes. But the forgiving blood of Jesus has changed them. These people are Heaven bound and they realize that, want that and will stop at nothing until it is realized.
So often our lives are slowed down because we are dragging guilt and regret with us. We feel that we are not doing enough. We feel ashamed for our mistakes and sins. We want to do better and do more. But, take a look at where you are and how far you have come. It is amazing.
I think college students often feel tired of the long journey they are on. Many have been in school constantly since they were five years old. They are weary of classes, projects, papers, tests. They just want to be done. It is hard for them to see how far they have come. All those years of study and learning has prepared them to be the gifted leaders that they are.
For the Christian it is a similar picture. It’s hard to see growth in ourselves. All those sermons we have listened to. All those notes we have taken. All those Bible classes we’ve sat through. Year after year and just look at what we have become. People notice. It’s seen in our character. We have changed. He has changed us. We have been changed for the better.
That demon possessed man, now free from demons, sitting, not shouting, and clothed was a different person. He became the first one Jesus gave permission to go tell about Him. Oh, the things he could say. Just look at him. Look at the changes. He’s not the same person anymore. There is nothing to fear about him now. Eager, helpful, kind—he was a new person.
And, so it is with us. The Lord has changed each of us. We have been on this long journey but look at how far we have come. It’s amazing!
Thank you, Lord. Thank you for what you have done to each of us.