Proper 7 Wednesday Evening
Many of us keep a list of things to do, primarily so we don’t forget.
Our Lord Jesus doesn’t need such a list, because He is God and will never forget. This brings us to our Gospel reading. Jesus is on a mission, which Luke makes clear again and again in his gospel account. Jesus’ mission, or goal, is precisely what today’s Prayer of the Day reveals: “You sent your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, into this world to destroy the works of the devil and protect us poor people against such an evil foe.”
This brings us to today’s theme:
Jesus will not be kept from rescuing you.
In fact, Jesus is willing to go to the other side of the lake to rescue a man.
While He and his disciples were on the Sea of Galilee a storm comes up and Jesus is asleep.
Disciples wake Jesus — “Master, master, we are perishing!”
Jesus calms the storm. The text says, “He rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm.”
This account ends with a question that is not answered until today’s reading: “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”
The storm was an interruption, and just as in our life, Jesus too faced interruptions. Imagine, after a long day of work — in Jesus’ case a day of ministry — and you decide to close your eyes for a nap. Then your disciples wake you up in a panic, terrified that they were about to die. Jesus gets up and deals with the problem and the winds and water obey Him because they know the answer to the question the disciples presented.
You and I may have turned back if confronted with such a storm. I’ll wait until the weather is a little nicer.
Not Jesus. He is on a rescue mission and nothing will get in His way.
Jesus gets to the other side, an area known as the Gerasenes. Gentile country.
He immediately met a man oppressed by demons. The man greets Jesus with an odd greeting, and with a loud voice: “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” The demons know the answer to the question too, and they are fully aware of Jesus’ mission, and what it will ultimately mean for them
Jesus asked his name — “Legion” was the response, because many demons entered him, and they begged Jesus that he would not cast them into the abyss.
This all begs the question, “Who is this Jesus?”
The winds and waves obey Him.
Legion knows His identity and His mission.
Jesus commands the demons and they depart.
The cleansed man wants to follow Jesus, but is told: “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God had done for you. And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.”
And the man does exactly as Jesus said. You see, when Jesus left, he left the gospel behind. Rather than letting the man who had been healed come with him, Jesus set him free.
The man was not possessed by Jesus the way he had been possessed by the demons. Rather, he was free to live in the home the demons had driven him from and testify to what God had for him.
The gospel Jesus left behind was as powerful as the gospel Jesus had brought with him. The man testified to what Jesus had done for him throughout the region, and the people were amazed (Mark 5:20).
When Jesus visited this region again, after healing the Syro-Phoenician woman, great crowds brought their sick to Jesus. This time the people praised the God of Israel for what He had done, instead of running Him off in fear.
Jesus has sent us to do the same: to tell what great things God has done for us.
However, we are easily tripped up from getting the gospel to people. We have a laundry list of other things to do that this looks more like an interruption to what we really want.
BUT, think about what great things has God done for you? Do we truly understand bondage from which you have been rescued? Set free from sin! Set free from death! Set free from the power of the devil. Why wouldn’t we want to tell everyone we meet about what God has done for us?
God be praised! We have a relentless Savior who actually found us on the rubble heap on his way to rescue the world.
And He had you specifically on His mind while He was heading to Jerusalem and the cross.
You were the reason why He became human flesh. He knew that for you to be saved, He had to come and rescue you.
Therefore brothers and sisters, let’s get after the rescue of all people in our family/community/connections. We have the power that defeats every force that Satan will use to keep people in his congregation of the dead. The same gospel Jesus left behind for the healed man to share, is EXACTLY the same gospel message He left for you and me to share with others. So, let’s get out there as Jesus’ mouthpiece so everyone can be rescues by Jesus.