Posts Tagged ‘unwanted’

Mark 4:35-20

There are many aspects worth looking at in this wonderful story of just one of Jesus’ “goings” during His three years of ministry but I want to focus in on a couple of points that really jumped out at me.  Take a minute to read the whole story and then we are going to pull just a couple of things out for today.

Being engaged in full-time ministry (especially here in the United States) tempts one to play the numbers game.  We want to maximize our resources and time and reach as many people as we can given that time and resource.  We commission broad studies and do detailed demographic surveys to find receptive populations and to direct our attention to them.  Here in Mark God reminds us that it is not all about the multitude.

Now when they had left the multitude.”  (Mark 4:36a)

Not an earth shattering passage of revelation, yet it speaks volumes about the missional life.  Jesus spoke to the multitudes often through his years of ministry but this is balanced (and perhaps the scales are tipped more in this direction) by His ministry to the few, or even the one as is recorded here in Mark.

And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had been bound with shackles and chains.  And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.  And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.”  (Mark 5:2-5)

Luke 8:27 tells us the man was naked and Matthew adds the story of the second man also living in the tombs but the principle is the same.  Jesus leaves the multitudes, crosses the sea (through a storm) and lands in a new place to minister to a crazy, naked man living in a graveyard (and his friend).  So that sets up my question.  “How far will you go to minister to the crazy naked man living in the graveyard?”  One might think that this crazy man was the sideshow to a great ministry of revival.  Surely Jesus had a nobler and greater purpose in this trip across the sea.  With this demonstration there must have been a great outpouring of God’s Kingdom in the countryside.  Of course you have already read the story and know that this is not true.  Jesus did not get a chance to teach a “multitude” in fact the “multitude” did come to him but Matthew puts it rather succinctly, “And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus.  And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.  So He got into the boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.”  (Matthew 8:34-9:1)

I cannot even begin to anticipate my reaction if I woke up one morning with the whole city at the doorstep of the Lewis House begging us to pack up and leave.  I have to wonder if the disciples were not a little bit grumbly about this little trip and its result.  Had Jesus made a mistake crossing the sea?  Maybe he missed His Father’s voice this one time.  Or maybe Jesus was teaching them all a very special lesson about His love for the lost, the oppressed, the crazy, the one and how far He was willing to go.  It is a lesson that continued and found its climax on a hill called Golgotha. It is a lesson that would find its fulfillment with an empty tomb.

So how far are we willing to go?  The one is out there waiting for a touch from God.

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