Monday, February 12, 2007

All for One

Yesterday morning at church, we looked at the passage where Jesus calmed the storm. You know the one... Jesus dozes off on a boat, a fierce squall kicks up forcing water to swamp the boat, the disciples in blind panic go and wake Jesus (who is sill firmly in the land of nod), and tell him they are all going to die. It's at this point in the tale that Jesus tells the winds and wave to stop behaving like naughty schoolchildren and settle down... and they do.

While the display of supernatural power is pretty jaw dropping, what interests me far more is the reason why Jesus went in the first place... because it's not long after that he is back where he came from. Well... I suppose, there is this little story in between:

They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!" For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

Jesus asked him, "What is your name?"

"Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, "Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:26-39)

Yes, I know you have to feel sorry for the pigs... but did you spot something amazing there? Jesus demonstrates how much the soul of one man matters to him. The only reason he travelled over the sea in the first place, was to free that man from his demons.

What is more, if you think about what happened just before all this, you really get a strong impression of how much Jesus values the individual. He left the crowds in Galilee, got in a boat and took his disciples through what was immense physical danger in their eyes. When he touched shore, he took on a supernatural force that no one else could handle. You could argue that the storm had been caused by the same supernatural force. Perhaps the devil wasn't so keen to let that one go. The soul of every individual is important... Satan clings to that which he does not own and Jesus seeks to do everything in his power to free them. If that means travelling over great distances that are not on the itinerary, he'll do it.

This is not the only time in the gospels that Jesus does this. There is a passage where he goes to Samaria to speak to just one woman... and it was out of his way geographically.

This is the Good Shepherd at work. Jesus said that if a shepherd had 100 sheep and one of them was in trouble, he'd leave the safe ones to rescue the endangered one. In the story we just read, he demonstrates it perfectly.

I wonder if you've been feeling troubled by your own demons... and are unable to see a way out? They don't have to be supernatural ones, it could be depression, or it could be something to do with broken relationships. It doesn't matter what troubles you... if you feel trapped, I want to encourage you today by saying that Jesus is the God of the individual. It doesn't matter whether he has to face a long journey, tempests or demons... he will come. He will come because all of us - you and I, matter to him. He loves us that much.

To those of us who know him I have a further challenge. Are we prepared to show that level of commitment to the lost? Are we willing to go wherever we see the need and bind up the broken hearted? Are we? Or are we tempted to stay in the limelight and only do work for God, where it can be seen.

Every soul matters.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:24 pm

    I will not argue that Jesus will come... But what can he do to help?



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