What Would Jesus Do?July 25-29
He’ll Go Any Place
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. – Mark 5:1 (ESV)
Ralph and Janice were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. The church was honoring the couple. The pastor asked Ralph to come forward and give a testimony. Ralph said, “Well, the secret to our marriage is that I always treated her with respect, and I spent a lot of money on her; and gave her an expensive trip, just to give her a break and let her get away from it all.” The pastor said, “That’s great, where did you take her?” He said, “For our 25th anniversary, I took her to Beijing, China.” The congregation nodded and oohed in approval and the pastor said asked, “Where are you going on your 50th anniversary?” Ralph replied, “To Beijing, to get her back!” (Unknown)
Jesus went out of His way to reach people that others wouldn’t. The region of Gadara extended to the Sea of Galilee and included the town of Sennabris on the southern shore. Christ came to the demoniacs, who men would not dare go near! Christ even braved a storm to come to them! This is a dramatic illustration of Jesus’ compassion and heart for the lost, no matter how deplorable their condition! Is this not also a perfect picture of grace, giving men what they do not deserve and could never earn, whether they demon possessed or in their right mind, for neither seeks for God (Ro 3:11)!
When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He told the disciples to go to the ends of the earth. When have you gone out of your way to spread the gospel?
Praise God for the people in your life who have gone out of their way to minister to you. Ask God where He might want you to go to spread the gospel.
He’ll Reach Any Person
And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, – Mark 5:2-3 (ESV)
Tom Mercer writes, “Years ago, I heard an incredible story about a guy who, while walking through an intersection in a large city, noticed a police officer directing traffic in the middle of the street. As he walked by, the man sensed the Holy Spirit prompting him to go up to the officer and tell him that God loved him. The man dismissed the impulse and kept walking. Haunted by the continued sense that he had been disobedient to the Spirit, he finally walked back to that intersection, up to the officer, and said, “Excuse me, Officer, but God just told me to tell you that He loves you.” Tears began to trickle down from under the cop’s mirrored sunglasses. Traffic stopped. With a broken voice, the officer said, “I prayed to God for the first time in a long time last night and told Him that, if He was real, the least He could do was to send someone to tell me that He was there for me.” Within a matter of minutes, the officer called for backup and then prayed to receive Christ right there on that street corner. And then he writes, “When I heard that story, I was mesmerized, to say the least. It was one of the most amazing and powerful conversion stories I had ever heard. The speaker closed his message to our group that evening, he said, ‘Now go out and witness to people!’ So we were all looking for cops all week!”
Jesus was always looking for people who needed Him. In Mark 5, Jesus came across a demon-possessed man who desperately needed to be delivered. The phrase “unclean” refers in a moral sense to that which is unclean in thought, word, and deed. There are those who would make this man be only an insane case, but our Lord clearly recognized demon possession by His saying, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit.” Vance Havner wrote, “After mastering a wild sea the Lord Jesus masters a wild man!”
All types of people need the Lord. It often seems Jesus was reaching the least likely. Who are some of the “least likely” people in your life?
Thank God for reaching you with the gospel when others may have overlooked you. Ask God to lead you to someone who needs to hear about His love and grace.
He’ll Conquer Any Sin
For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” – Mark 5:8-9 (ESV)
Born in 1812 as a slave in Virginia, John Jasper spent his youth working on a tobacco farm. In 1831, he heard a sermon that put him under the conviction of the Holy Spirit regarding the sin in his life. After a twenty-five-day struggle, John confessed his sins, joined a church, and began to lose the hatred he felt for those who enslaved him. John Jasper became one of the most remarkable African-American preachers of the nineteenth century 24 years as a slave, and 39 years as a free man. Yet for him, it was spiritual bondage and freedom that was the real issue. Only God’s love can set a person truly free, an emphasis in Jasper’s preaching to which both blacks and whites responded.
In the same way, Jesus set the demoniac in today’s reading dramatically free from Satanic oppression and bondage. His authority is powerfully displayed throughout today’s reading. (Today in the Word)
Jesus came to set us free from the power of sin. Jesus moves into a new set of impossible situations. He encounters a demon-possessed man. This man was possessed by thousands of demons. He cannot help himself and the people around him are helpless as well. J C Ryle writes, “Let us mark the absolute power which the Lord Jesus Christ possesses over Satan. We are told that he “commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man,” whose miserable condition we have just heard described. At once the unhappy sufferer was healed. The “many devils” by whom he had been possessed were compelled to leave him.”
Jesus calmed an impossible storm. Then Jesus delivered an impossible man. What are the situations in your life that seem impossible? How did Pastor Josh’s sermon encourage you to believe?
Praise God for His unlimited power to change lives. Ask God to intervene in the “impossible” situations you see around you.
He’ll Use Every Story
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 5:19-20 (ESV)
Years ago a farmer from the interior of China had come to a mission compound where a doctor had removed cataracts from his eyes. A few days after the farmer left, the doctor looked out his window and noticed the same man holding the end of a long rope. In single file behind him, holding to the rope, were several dozen blind Chinese whom the farmer had rounded up and led for miles to the doctor who had worked “miracles” on his eyes. Because his sight had been restored, he wanted others to experience the same thing! That story illustrates the message of the dramatic encounter between Jesus and Legion, the demoniac. (Steven Cole)
The formerly demon-possessed man was commissioned by Jesus. Jesus refused the man’s request to go with Him. Instead, Jesus sent him back to his home to tell others what the Lord had done for him. And, that is precisely what he did. He went into “Decapolis”, which means “the ten cities” and he preached the Gospel of grace to all who would listen!
Jesus had greatly blessed this man and so gave him the hardest task of all, to go home and witness there for Christ. In Galilee, Jesus had several times forbidden the healed to tell what he had done for them because of undue excitement and misunderstanding.
A.T. Robertson writes, “Certainly no people needed the message about Christ more than these people who were begging Jesus to leave.” Who are the people that seem least interested in hearing about Jesus in your life? Are you able and eager to tell others how much Jesus has done for you? This week, we encourage you to look for at least one opportunity to tell an unbeliever something God has done for you, a way in which He has worked in your life. It might be your salvation testimony or an answer to prayer. In any case, make it your purpose to glorify God and to attract others to Him through your words.
Thank God for the testimony He has given you. Pray God would soften the hearts of people who need to hear your story.
Amaze Us With Grace
And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. – Mark 5:19-20 (ESV)
While reading John 3 to her little daughter, a mother paused after the 16th verse and exclaimed, “Don’t you think that’s amazing, dear?” The child looked up in surprise and said, “No!” Thinking she might have misunderstood, the mother repeated the question. Again the girl shook her head and said, “Mommy, it would be amazing if it were anyone else, but really, it’s just like God!”
In Mark 5 Jesus heals a man that everyone knew had been demon-possessed. The man shared his story and everyone “marveled” at what Jesus had done for him. It seems amazing but it really is just like God to change someone’s life. God is love. That’s His nature. God delights in showing mercy, that’s who He is. He is the Creator and making something out of nothing is what He does.
What did you learn about God in Pastor Josh’s sermon that you didn’t know before? What are some things about God that amaze you? What has Jesus done for you that’s amazing?
Praise God for the amazing things He has done for you. Praise God for the things about Him that amaze you. Ask God to help you never get over how amazing His mercy and love are in your life.