Garland Of Grace – 01.25.16

Underwood-Deviled-Ham

Deviled Ham

“The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.  Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.” – Mark 5:12-13

Jesus transforms lives. When someone has a genuine, personal encounter with the true and living God, they walk away a changed person. I am sure that we are all familiar with the story of when Jesus healed the demon possessed man that lived among the tombs. His story is a textbook example of how our Lord transforms lives.

Initially, this man was a crazed lunatic. If you had seen him, this maniac would have stuck out like a sore thumb.  First of all, he was naked.  That alone would make anyone stand out in a crowd!  He also had matted hair and long fingernails. He probably had an overwhelming body odor. He foamed at the mouth and blood flowed from his self-inflicted wounds. To top it all off, you would have heard the clanging of chains as he dragged them everywhere he went. His body was out of control because his mind was out of control.  His life was a devil-controlled life. He had often been bound with fetters and chains, but he had broken those chains, and the Bible says that no man could control him (Mark 5:4). The people of that region knew him all too well.  He was the town freak, treated like the social outcast he was.  He was the guy that everyone avoided, and no one wanted to be around him.

Then our glorious Lord Jesus showed up on the scene. After a brief confrontation with the demons within the man, Jesus sent them into a herd of pigs that was nearby. I guess you could say that this is the only record of deviled ham in the Bible! This man was restored after Jesus had performed the exorcism.  In our text above, we see the evidences of restoration. First, he was sitting down. This means that the man was finally experiencing rest. Second, he was clothed. We do not know for sure, but in all probability, Jesus gave this man his outer garment to cover his nakedness. This is a picture of what Christ does for us when He clothes us in robes of righteousness. Clothing always offers identity and dignity to a person. Thirdly, he was in his right mind. This means that he no longer was ravaged by the demons and could think clearly.  It is in these events that we see God is in the miracle business; for any life that has been transformed by Jesus Christ is nothing short of a miracle.

At the end of the story, we see this former lunatic spreading the good news of Christ. Verse 18 tells us that “the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him.” The word implore here is the Greek word “parakaleo” which means to plead or to beg. He had a driving desire to stay with Jesus and travel with Him from that point forward.  But Jesus sent him out as a missionary to his hometown.  He was to report to them the great things the Lord did for him and how He had experienced the mercy of God (V19). This man was one of the earliest missionaries to the Gentiles, and we trust the Lord that through his testimony, many Gentiles became believers in Christ.

Your story might not be as severe as was this demon possessed man.  But the same principles apply to all of us.  We are all like mad men infested with a disease called sin.  And the only remedy is a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. And no matter how tainted your past might be, God can use you to reach others for Christ!

 – Pastor Eric

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