Mercy by Christopher Green
If nothing else, amazing things surrounded the ministry of Jesus. In one night... Jesus and his followers rode out a furious storm in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. It wasn't until Jesus stood up in the boat and commanded the wind and the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" that the immediate risk of death was avoided. The disciples wondered if Jesus even cared that they drown. Jesus asked them why they were afraid and didn't have faith! Not only was the event amazing, I'm guessing the conversation was as well.
As if that wasn't enough excitement for one night, Jesus and his followers landed their boat at a seaside cemetery in the region of the Gerasene people and the excitement only went up from there. From out of the shadows of the cemetery, while Jesus was still a long way off, a demon-possessed man named Legion came running straight for them. I picture the followers of Jesus making a B-line back to the boat, but Jesus isn't phased in the face of the chaos. Jesus waits for the man to come right up to him and eventually heals the man of his demon possession -- forever changing his life.
When it came time for Jesus to leave that place, the man begged Jesus to let him go with him. But Jesus refused his request. I've always wondered about that... Why wouldn't Jesus let him go with them?
Instead of letting the man travel with the other followers, Jesus tells him to "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you." So the man left and began to tell the people all over the area what Jesus had done for him and everyone was amazed by what they heard!
Jesus told the man specifically to go and tell others about the "mercy" he had received. I occasionally hear Christ followers today telling each other what God has done for them (blessings, opportunities, physical health, etc.) but I rarely hear people talk about the "mercy" they have received from God. Mercy, by definition, is not getting what we do deserve. When someone throws themselves "on the mercy of the court," they are asking the judge and jury to "go easy" on them and not give what the full extent of the law requires.
I believe we need to talk more about our "mercies" (God says his "mercies are new every morning" -- see Lamentations 3:23). Perhaps the reason we don't talk more about the mercies of God is that if we did, talking about it would expose who we once were and what we've done that has required the mercy. It is difficult to say, "I didn't get what I deserved" when we aren't willing to talk about the situation that required the mercy.
But this is precisely what caused the people who heard Legion's testimony to "be amazed." They knew who this guy was and they now knew what he had become as a result of his encounter with Jesus. If we want more people to be "amazed" about who Jesus is... maybe we need to allow them to be "amazed" by what we were and what we are now, because we've been with Jesus!
This page maintained by Christopher Green.