Jesus is everywhere. Except maybe in boxes; he doesn’t seem to like to stay in our boxes too much.
I recently came across the story of the demoniac from the Gerasenes in my daily reading plan from Mark chapter 5. I am always so struck by the amazing imagery of this passage. Here is this man living among the dead. Naked not in the innocence of the garden of paradise but in the enslavement of evil out in the wilderness. No chains could restrain his body because of the power of the chains that held his soul. No one had the strength to subdue him as he bruised and hurt himself with stones. He was apparently a lost cause, beyond help and beyond hope of recovery.
Then Jesus shows up, because love hopes all things. He performs a quick interrogation and dramatic exorcism and the man is suddenly and completely set free. “Clothed and in his right mind.”
But it’s what happened afterward that really struck me this time. This suddenly free and sane man literally begs Jesus for the opportunity follow him and be with him. And Jesus says no.
No?! I mean, Jesus granted permission to the demons when they asked to go into the swine but not permission for the freed man when he asked to go with him. How could that be? It doesn’t fit the script we would expect and the concept I have.
Jesus had a different plan in mind for him. “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.”
This man had no opportunity to hear additional teaching directly from Jesus. Shouldn’t he at least have to go to seminary first or something? It appears not. The genuineness of his transformation and the story he had to share were enough to qualify him for his commission. No doubt he had many conversations with God in his new life, but nothing more was needed to enter his calling.
Some are called into apostolic ministry or a foreign mission field. Some are called to go home to their friends. Let’s be careful to not judge or envy one another’s calling. We might be doing exactly what Jesus told us to do, even if it’s not what anyone might have expected. Even if it’s not what we initially asked for.
What has Jesus been saying to you during this fast? “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” (Mark 10:49).
by Steve Lamp
Steve and his wife Melissa began attending Kingsway in 2014. Not normally prone to public displays of emotion, he wept during the first worship service and knew he had found home. As an avid reader, Steve believes the ideas we allow into our minds are critical to our spiritual formation. He enjoys exploring nature, playing and spending time with his two young sons and over-quoting his favorite authors, C.S. Lewis and Dallas Willard.