This morning I going to reflect on those bible characters that I would like to meet in heaven. Of course, we have God. Let’s all assume that’s who we want to meet first. I wonder what that will be like. I touched on meeting Jesus yesterday, but I wonder also about God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. I know we read about God on the throne, but I wonder if that is Jesus or the Father? Interesting.
For now, I’m thinking of all-human characters. Have you ever thought about that? Is there one you would like to meet? Can you even narrow it down to one? I guess I could, if I had to. I prefer to work my list down to three. Let me share this with you.
The Demon-Possessed Man. I’m telling you, this is the most interesting character for me. Why? Because I have known many people who were just like him – completely taken over by something that nobody could contain let alone control. I’ve seen men go absolutely berserk with seemingly supernatural power and utterly destroy people and things around them. I’ve seen people that could not be brought down with clubs. They were completely impervious to pain. They were simply out of their mind. Like this guy:
Mark 5:1-7 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”
Have you ever known anyone like that? That described my father and many other men in the lawless town I grew up in. In a sense, I experienced a taste of this with my own alcoholism, but nothing to the degree of this. I was completely powerless to stop drinking, but I had not lost control and become violent. Even so, I have been around plenty of men who have. For the most part, most of them are now dead and, as far as I know, have never had happen what happened to this man:
v. 8-9 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is legion, for we are many.”
You know the next part, when the demons fled and entered the pigs and the whole town came and begged Jesus to leave. Now here’s my favorite part:
v. 15, 18-20 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid…As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
I have met many men who once were demon-possessed but now are among those proclaiming what God has done for them. I am one. I tell you, to have Jesus take away, in an instant, that which has tormented you for decades is beyond description. It is the reason that I write this blog and am so passionate about telling others about Jesus. I was a whisker from death, yet God had mercy on me, like many others I know. Ask me for a tour of The Fortress, and I’ll introduce you to a whole bunch of guys who will say the same thing. I’m telling you, Jesus is still in the miracle business and still cranking out new believers who boldly tell all what happened to them. Like the man in the story, the locals are amazed because they now see men who are sitting there, clothed, and in their right mind. Praise be to God!
One more thing. Actually two. First, don’t think that you have nothing to relate to this man who lived among the tombs. You do. You have much more in common than you might imagine. Male or female, young or old, rich or poor, churched or unchurched.
Romans 1:18-23 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Whether we like it or not, Paul is describing every single human being ever born or yet to be born, apart from Jesus. Can’t escape that fact. Plus, we cannot escape the fact that it is only through direct, divine intervention of Jesus himself by his mercy that we may be saved.
Romans 9:15-16 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Finally, the last thing for today. Notice the training Jesus gave to this man before he sent him out into the world to evangelize. Do you see it? It’s right there in the text. Actually, that’s kind of a trick question. The only training this man had was the fact that Jesus performed a miracle on him. That’s it. Nothing more. “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” That’s it. That’s the same marching order he has for me. And you. Are you born again? Then you have all the training you need. Can you compare yourself to the demon-possessed man? Can you see that you were once blind, naked, and insane? Can you see how you are now clothed and in your right mind? If you can’t, may I suggest you get alone with Jesus for a while. He ransomed you from the gates of hell, a place far worse than the tombs our guy lived in. Can you put your life into perspective today and think about these things?
Looks like I’ll have to continue tomorrow with my other two favorite characters.
Father, drive this point home in me today. I was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see. Encourage me to share your story. Put people in my path today. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers