Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him… (Mark 5:5-6)
We have been considering the account of Jesus and His disciples crossing the storm-tossed sea of Galilee and the immediate encounter with the man possessed by a “legion” of demons. Specifically, we have found numerous indicators of the immense importance of mission in the life and ministry of Jesus.
Now we see yet another reason why being on mission matters immensely:
6. People matter more than our comfort, culture, preferences, and profit…
Did you notice the tremendous amount of difficulty and expense that reaching this one guy cost just about everyone in the process? It was not just the profound trial of the storm, but the crisis of all the pigs being killed, etc.. A lot of people may have questioned the wisdom of putting so much at risk for one man – especially a “throw-away” sort of person.
This historical account is a testimony to Christ’s love for one solitary, miserable, demon-possessed, swine-eating, idol-worshipping person. He had been reduced to an animal-like existence. It’s obvious that the demons valued him little above that of the pigs. He was a vessel of opportunity for them, something to consume, use, abuse, defile, curse, and publicly scorn….and throw away. And apparently the people in his community valued their peace and profit more than his sanity and freedom.
But Jesus had different ideas for the poor man!
He was almost doubtless…a Gentile “outsider”.
He was a mess…But he mattered to Jesus.
He was violent…But Jesus could calm his rage.
He was full of the devil…But Jesus would fill him with peace and purpose!
He was full of shame…But Jesus would change his nature and name!
Look at the potential loss of life, limb, boats, time, animals, profit, etc…that Jesus was willing to sacrifice for this one person who was the object of His love!
Winning people to Jesus…is often costly. It is often risky. It is often unpopular. It will sometimes bring rejection.
And It may cost those around you…even more than it seems to cost you.
Jesus was obviously willing to risk everything for the soul of one person. And it was a person that everyone else had given up on.
May God help those of us who claim to follow Christ to value lost folks more than our own comfort, culture, preferences, and profit.
Still more next time!