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An Unexpected Commissioning

Mark 5:1-18

One of the most profound encounters Jesus had with deep lostness is found here in Mark 5, but it actually begins in Mark 4:35 where Jesus has been teaching parables to the crowds. He says, ‘Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.’ One moment Jesus is teaching the crowds and suddenly, and it seems quite abruptly, He leaves the crowds and gets into a boat. This is seen clearer in v36, “So they left the crowd and took Him along since He was already in the boat…” (HCSB). So Jesus left the crowds and was already in the boat before any of the disciples! But why did He leave so abruptly? The answer might be found in Mark 5:5 where we learn that there was one ‘crying out’ in brokenness and lostness. It seems Jesus actually left the crowds to answer the cry of one man who was desperate, lost, and broken!

This Gadarene demoniac was in the worst possible state, self-harming, afflicted by demons, uncontrollable, drawn to live among the tombs, and even capable of smashing his chains and shackles. He seemed to many, to be beyond mercy, but as he encountered Jesus he was gloriously transformed from chaos to being filled with perfect peace. It’s amazing to know that nobody is beyond mercy and that no situation is beyond the power of Christ. Jesus is Lord of all the universe and that was displayed as He spoke peace to the chaos, both in the storm and in the life of this man who was lost and broken in the deepest ways.

Yet, something that stands out in this story is the way Jesus intentionally pursued the ‘one’ who was lost and broken, even leaving the crowds to reach him. This highlights how important it is to engage in this intentional pursuit of those who are crying out, broken, lost in sin, and all of its effects. This man wasn’t someone who would help with credibility or with the good standing of this new movement. He was filled with chaos, a real danger to the community, and would present all kinds of safety concerns in today’s world. Yet Jesus intentionally pursued him and transformed him into a person filled with peace.

Jesus later taught on the principle of the ‘person of peace’ (Matt 10; Luke 10), a person who is open to Jesus and willing to introduce their household and community to the Gospel. Yet, we often expect that person to be just like us, living their best life, and with no issues or baggage. But this man, who was the ultimate example of chaos, brokenness, and lostness, became a person filled with peace who brought the Good News to at least ten towns.

But Jesus said, “…go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.” (Mark 5:19–20, NLT)

In what ways can you intentionally pursue lostness and brokenness? Who is ‘crying out’ in your region? Who might be destined to be dramatically transformed in a way that causes an openness to the Gospel?

Father, thank You that Jesus is Lord! Lead me and empower me to bring good news to lostness, love and healing to brokenness, and freedom to captives. Raise them to be disciple-makers who impact Ireland and the nations for Your glory!

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