Thursday, August 7, 2014

Excitement in the boat, part 17: the Gadarenes

Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. (Luke 8:26-27 NASB)

After sailing into the storm and watching the miraculous intervention of Jesus, the disciples may have felt they had had enough of adventure and were ready to go home. However, they were mostly young men, likely less than 21 years of age, and as young men, they were more likely ready for all the adventure Jesus could bring. Adventure was exactly what they found in the land of the Gerasenes. 

As soon as the boat landed and Jesus disembarked, a man came to meet Him. This was no ordinary man. He was demon-possessed, and had left his home in the city to live among the tombs. He was completely naked and had been for some time. 

Pause for a moment and consider the sight that greeted these young men. The man was not clean or well-groomed, and he likely smelled terrible. His hair and beard were likely disheveled, his skin not just dirty but deeply soiled and dark from exposure to the sun, with not a stitch of clothing. 

For the young men, mostly reared in small fishing villages, he must have been both a novel and shocking sight. Their first reaction might have been surprise or fear, but it was not likely one of compassion. This man, however, was the reason for their trip. He was the very unlikely inspiration for the journey through the storm and the reason they had risked their lives. They probably didn't realize this at first sight, but can't you imagine their thoughts if they had? "This?? We risked everything for this crazy man?" 
They saw the demoniac in the tombs. Jesus saw the man he would soon become. 

Most of us would have preferred to stay on the shore rather than sail into contact with the wild man in the tombs. Jesus, however, was willing to go to the extreme for this one in order to bring healing and freedom. 

What about us? What will we risk for the unlikely ones? How willing are we to reach out to those who are so very different in the name of Jesus? 

As we pray today, remember the ones in the most desperate situations, whether because of their own bad choices, demonic possession, mental illness, or unexpected circumstances that have come their way. Pray that we and our loved ones will see the unlovely with the eyes of Christ and willingly work as His hands and feet to bring hope and healing their way. 
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Link to last night's post: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/08/mountains-and-valleys.html
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We are still praying for Hamas this week, as well as for the peace of Israel. One thing I'm praying for the leaders of Hamas is not only conviction and transformation but weariness in fighting and a desire to do good rather than further destruction.