Jesus is so often portrayed as “the gentle one”, meek and quiet….someone that no one would fear. Often times God is portrayed as vengeful and angry……I believe that neither picture is fully accurate. My mother loved me unconditionally and as I look back on my life, she was preparing me for life on my own. She taught me to cook, to sew, to work hard and to appreciate…..to love and to have compassion, to show empathy and to care for others. Well, let me tell ya……to learn all these things in my life…..it was sometimes tough! I made mistakes and needed correction, sometimes I had to pay the hard price. But all in all…..my mother prepared me for life.
I believe that it is important to recognize much of what I said about my mother is also true of our Father, God…indeed Jesus. I feared my mother, but not in a way that was due to angry hatred….but more in a way that I knew that her way was not always the easy way, but also that she had authority in my life. I recognize that not all people have great parental figures in their lives. However, the picture of a great mentor and great parental figure in your life is someone who is preparing you and guiding you so that you might fulfillment in your life….and the preparation isn’t always easy!
Mark 5:14-16 (TNIV)
14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man–and told about the pigs as well.
Mark describes these people, upon hearing of the power of Jesus and upon coming and seeing the power of Jesus, as being “afraid”. Here are my questions:
1. Have you seen the power of Jesus working in your life? Maybe you have seen His power as answers to prayer, as what many would call “coincidences”…yet they come eerily as a result of what you have been pondering and seeking? (are they really coincidences?)
3. They say that freedom comes with a price because freedom isn’t really “free”. I agree. My question is, are you willing to pay the price so that you can be TRULY FREE? Or will you stay with your status quo because you are afraid of what that price may be?
You see, if you look at the story above, these people could have responded to the power of Jesus in different ways. Indeed, a man was healed and released from the bondage that was so evident to all around him. They choose to respond in fear rather than embrace the FREEDOM that Jesus brings and as you will see tomorrow in the verses that follow….they ask the one who had the power to free them from their demons, Jesus…..to leave them….because they choose to be afraid.
Jesus just freed this man of many demons that plagued his life. Earlier in verse 4 and 5, this man was described as being chained hand and foot, he was crying out in his misery and was destroying himself.
Mark 5:4-5 (TNIV)
4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
What made the people afraid? I can only speculate. Maybe it was the fact that there was a great cost? We maybe don’t recognize it in our culture….but here are two thousand pigs, a whole herd….gone. That’s a lot of money! This we do recognize in our culture: Much injustice and oppression, both here in the United States as well as overseas, is the direct result of some individual’s or company’s urge to get rich. People are continually being sacrificed to the god of money. What is more important…..our lives….or money? Okay, I got a little sidetracked here….let’s continue on.
Freedom is not actually free. There is a cost….but the cost results in our FREEDOM from the bondage that enslaves us….sin!
Instead of looking at your life and counting the cost of freedom…..count the results! The results are FREEDOM from the bondage of the sin that enslaves you! Jesus can FREE YOU! Jesus can remove the chains! Jesus can change your life! Don’t be AFRAID! Embrace the freedom! Indeed……embrace Jesus!
Would you rather have Jesus leave you? Or would you rather have Him finish his work in you?