Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Deliverer pt. 3

The Man’s Commission from Christ – vv. 18-20

Jesus did not stay where he was not wanted. The Gadarenes asked him to leave and he complied. The new man asked if he could remain with Jesus, but he was denied. Jesus has a much better plan for the new man. The plan was to “go and tell.”
And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all [men] did marvel.
Of course, this is what Jesus requires of all his people; to “go and tell.”

This going and telling does not require a degree in evangelism or years of experience. You just have to be turned right side up, and once you’ve been turned right-side up; all the upside down people will enquire as to the change. And you’ll be able to tell them, “I met Jesus. He had mercy and compassion on me. He turned me right-side up!”

“Why did you need mercy?” They may ask.

Your answer should be, “I deserved punishment, but he gave me pardon. I was dead, but he gave me life. I deserved hell, but he promised me heaven.”

That is the merciful compassion of the Savior, and the preoccupation of our lives and our churches should be to go and tell how much the Lord has done for us, and how he has had mercy on us. Let them see the change brought about by the Lord’s grace.
You don’t have to know the answer to every question. That doesn’t mean answering questions is unimportant, but it does mean that the main thrust of all evangelism must be the gospel; must be how the gospel has changed you.

Had this man still been running around au natural, howling at the moon, and mutilating his body then his testimony of change would have rang hollow. People were able to hear the gospel from his lips because they could also see the gospel’s effect on his life. The two cannot be separated. “Before Christ I was a raving madman. He’s changed all that. Yes, I’m still scarred from when I cut myself, but I don’t cut myself anymore. Jesus has had mercy on me.” As the blind man in John 9:25 said, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

Only Christ can bring about such a transformation. The latest Christian fad cannot make the dead alive. Only the gospel of Christ is able to transform maniacs into missionaries, or a Saul into a Paul. That is why Paul said he wasn’t ashamed of the gospel, because it was and is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes.

Fast forward from Mark 5 to Mark 15 and we are assaulted with the image of another naked, mutilated man who is crying aloud in the darkness. Who is this naked, mutilated, and tormented man? It is Jesus Christ as he hangs on the cross, and he has just shouted, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) Why is this good man who had helped and healed so many people been beaten and humiliated? Why has he hanging on a cross?

He was on that cross so that I would not have to be.
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
He was lifted up on that cross so “That whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:15). He died to silence the screams of the demoniac and to forever break sin’s grip on all those who believe.

There was one more loud cry loosed fro the Lord’s lips before he gave up the ghost. He dried out with a loud voice, “It is finished.” (Mark 15:37 – John 19:30) This was no dying whimper; it was a shout of victory. The work was finished. The serpent’s head had been crushed. All that remains to ask is will you continue as you are, or will you turn by faith to Jesus Christ?

Will our churches fulfill the mission they have been given to go and tell our family, friends, and community how much the Lord has done for us, and how he has had mercy on us?

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