As I read the Bible and consider my own life I am more and more thankful for the sovereign grace of God and in particular for the powerful confrontation ministry of Jesus.
When I read a passage like Mark chapter 5 and see Jesus encounter the freak who lived at the local cemetery I am encouraged. I’m sure you recall the story, this guy was unable to bound by shackles and chains (Mk. 5.3), he was constantly engaged in violent outbursts (5.4), and to make matters worse he ran around screaming and gashing himself with stones (5.5). All of this was done, as Luke tells us, in the nude (Luke 8.27). And this is the guy who comes running up to Jesus as the Messianic boat is anchored on the shore of Gerasenes?>
So what happens? Quite simply the Sovereign Lord of everything and his imposing power overshadow this guy as he bows before the Savior. Jesus of course, in full Sovereign mode, confronts the unclean spirits and then provides the gracious comfort that was needed for this desperate man.
When I read an account like this I get encouraged. My encouragement comes first by my identification with the freak at the tombs. He is in my family, if you will. I see strands of his problems in my own spiritual genes. I remember a man who was completely enslaved to sin while standing not only unable but unwilling to do anything but which my demonic master commanded. I too was approached by Jesus. And just like this one my Savior powerfully confronted me with his lovingkindness and grace. I too found myself in a bit of hazy amazement as I sat in my ‘right-mind’ following Jesus powerful confrontation.
I am also encouraged in this narrative by the power that is exhibited by King Jesus. We often categorize folks as how may be likely to be saved or unlikely. Well, here is an example that should tip the scales a bit; a naked, self-mutilating, tomb-living, freak begged Jesus to follow him (Mk. 5.18)! I’m guessing you don’t have too many guys like this on your “lost person prayer list”.
Let’s remember what we are dealing with here. Jesus Christ has all of the power in the universe, this means that he is able to penetrate any heart with his gospel and he has the power to change anyone.
So let’s not cast folks off for their supposed ‘lack of potential’ for if truth be told, no one has potential. We are all relegated to the helpless state of our cemetery guy in Mark 5. And thankfully, we are not talking about a semipotent but and omnipotent God.
So join me today in thanking God for his radical grace through his Son’s glorious ministry of confrontation, and let’s also pray and preach like we have a powerful God that delights in saving radical sinners like you and me. And let’s head this powerful Savior’s words to the guy at the cemetery:
Mark 5:18-19 18 As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. 19 And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.”