After the Storm
What the world sees in us…
April 4th, 2019
And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.
Mark 5:15 (ESV)
Rescued from the clutches of Satan; the impact of our lives on those who know our past should clearly illustrate the difference the master has made in us.
Jesus had just cast the legion of demons out of the man and drove them into a herd of pigs.
The herdsmen that owned the pigs, had gone into town and reported the event. A crowd came to see the aftermath.
Notice the reaction of the people; “they were afraid”.
The once crazed individual was now sitting in the presence of Jesus. He was clothed. He was now displaying clarity of mind. There was a clear difference in what the townspeople had come to expect of the demon-possessed man hanging out at the graveyard.
Despite the positive effect the presence of Jesus had made on the man. Regardless of the change that had taken place and was obvious to all, they were afraid.
Let’s explore two questions:
- Why were people fearful, facing the evidence of positive change?
- If Christ is impacting our lives in the same manner, the change in us be just as shocking to those around us?
The town’s people, like those around us share similarities. They have had a certain level of experience with who we were before Jesus intervened in our lives.
That presence in our lives is genuine, we should display a changed life, contrasting our lives before. Those around us have come to where they expect specific behavior from us. When they see that difference their uncertainty drives their emotions and although a small percentage may be intrigued by the change, the bulk of those who witness the change are confused and anxious about what they are faced with. Without a further understanding as to the reason for the change, doubt and extreme caution exists.
The people ended up begging Jesus to depart from the region. They wished to minimize this change that had taken place and didn’t want for that change to affect them any more than it had already.
Instead of embracing the change, they fled from it. It didn’t matter how positive it was, they couldn’t see past the demonstration of God’s impact on the life of this man. I have to think they must have considered the potential changes Jesus might affect similarly in their lives.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
1 John 4:18 (ESV)
Their obvious fear would show that love wasn’t present in them. The man who had been possessed wasn’t displaying this fear. He was calm, in his right mind, and sitting there with Jesus. Abiding in perfect love.
I can’t help but reflect on the possessed man and compare it to my life. Am I sitting at the feet of the one who cast out my demons, washed me pure with His blood? Does His presence with me impact my appearance to the townspeople?
John goes on to say:
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:19-21 (ESV)
Is His love abiding in me? Has that love driven out all fear and truly freed me from the encumbrance of sin in my life, to where I reflect the change He intends for me?
Do I see myself more like the people of the town who see the potential of change that submission to the love of Christ Jesus can impact in my world and just want things to remain the same as possible? Am I by my response to this love asking Jesus to move along so that this change isn’t imposed on me?
Avoiding these questions may reveal our attitude regarding Jesus. Hopefully, instead of seeking for Jesus to depart from us, to avoid the change, we realize the potential of the change and being the disciple we are called to be.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 (ESV)
That desire to keep things just the way they are is nothing more than conformance to our natural condition. We were born into sin and corruption and if we by our actions seek to have Jesus leave us; it is conformance to world.
Drawing near Jesus, abiding in His love, and in His presence will affect a change in us. That change will be obvious to the people in our town. The change will become oblivious to all people that encounter us resting in the love of Jesus, abiding with Him at His feet.
Not attempting to flee but embracing the transformation of our minds by the renewal He’s imparting to us.
It is by this that we can discern “what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
We like the townsfolk, fear the unknown. It is only by abiding in that perfect love of Jesus that we can overcome that fear and replace it with trust in Him and His faithfulness.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
The fullness of the relationship that Jesus seeks to have with us isn’t realized in our salvation alone. We are saved for a purpose, a Devine charge we are intended to take up and focus ourselves upon.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Luke 9:23 (ESV)
If we will abide in His presence, we will not seek to send Him away. Instead, we will deny our flesh, taking up the charge He’s given us and follow Him. Following Jesus doesn’t mean that we will hide in our homes and churches and keep this message to ourselves.
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
Mark 5:18-20 (ESV)
The charge for the man is no different to our own. Take up that cross, deny self and GO! Tell our friends. Let them know how much the Lord has done for us. Express with them how the Creator and Redeemer has had mercy on us and how He wants to provide this same grace to them. Bring them before Jesus and provide Christ the opportunity to impact their lives in the same way.
“he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.”