Have you ever wondered just how far can a person get from God? How far is too far for someone to be redeemed? Is there a point of no return? We know one thing for certain, and that is we have a God that has never stopped to seek for the hearts of mankind. The Son of God never hesitated to leave the ninety nine to go to that one lost soul. (John:10:1) The Scriptures state that Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke:19:10). I believe for this reason alone Jesus decided to go to the land of the Gadarenes across the Sea of Galilee. He had been teaching parables to the crowds, but as evening came He told the disciples lets go to the other side of the sea. Maybe the disciples had hoped to go somewhere for a rest, but Jesus had other plans. He knew that there was a man in trouble on the other side of that sea – a demoniac, a man who was in torment, bound and shackled by Satan. He was a man as far away from God as one can possible get and Jesus knew it. Scripture tells us that when Jesus and His disciples were crossing the sea, a great storm arose, and waves filled the boat. The disciples called to Jesus who rebuked the wind and calmed the waves. They were in awe at what they saw, just as they will soon be amazed when Jesus calms the storm that raged in the life of the Gadarene Demoniac.
The Bible tells us that when the ship reached the shore, a man who was possessed by a whole legion of devils met Jesus. Evil had robbed him of his mind. He was controlled and mastered by this evil power, so the people tried to help him by putting him in chains, which he broke in pieces. He lived in the tombs, cutting himself with stones and crying in the agony of his soul night and day. Perhaps one would think that this man was too far gone for any help, but Jesus is help for the helpless and hope for the hopeless. “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matthew:19:26). We know that when Jesus rebuked the unclean spirits and commanded them to leave the man. The army of devils (so many they were called Legion) was powerless in the presence of Jesus. After a brief conversation with Jesus they had to leave the man, and at His consent they entered into some pigs, which plunged over a bank and were drowned in the sea. It was by Jesus this man was set free in body and soul. He came to his right mind and Jesus said “go home.”
Now we learn that although the man was set free the people in the community didn’t celebrate. They were not amazed at the change in the demoniac, the man whom they had feared and whose cries had startled them during the night. They did not realize that they had benefited when the menace of the community had been restored to a good citizen. Their only thought was in terms of the money in the loss of their property. They missed the power and focused on the pigs. Many times people seem to overlook the miracles that Jesus performs because they have their eyes on physical things instead of spiritual things. They may even look at a life that has been changed by God’s power, but fail to see or comprehend what has taken place.
The thought I’d like to share today from this miracle is that there is no point beyond where God can reach and restore us. We are never too far gone to be valued by our creator. Jesus doesn’t run from us like the people did this demon possessed man, but rather He comes to us in spite of our condition. That day there was no doubt that there were others there who needed a healing touch from Jesus, but they were denied both spiritual and physical blessings by asking Jesus to depart. Darkness no matter how great it may look always has to leave in the presence of light. We may not suffer from the condition of the Gadarene demoniac, but we all have some condition that needs the freeing power of Jesus. We must be thankful of His amazing grace that comes to us when we cannot go to Him. Remember, no matter the condition others are in God values them, and He wants to restore them. May we not be like the people who avoided this down and out man, but may we be like Jesus who comes to meet the needs of the man. No one is beyond the reach of the love and power of our God. This Sunday at South Side we will unpack this miracle further. Elevate Worship begins at 10:45, and we have classes for all ages of children. Be sure to come early to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee at “Café Connect.” For more information visit us on our website at www.southsidewch.com.
Barry Pettit is lead minister at South Side Church of Christ in Washington Court House.