What Is Your Response?

Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man–and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “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 went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
(Mark 5:14-20)

It is interesting to note the differing responses to this amazing event. And it is important to remember that miracles do not save, they merely point to the One who does. In our verses for today we see three reactions to the miracle Jesus performed.

First, we discover those tending the pigs running to the town and countryside shouting forth the phenomenon–much akin to the fervor or emotionalism of seeing a magic show or some circus event. They were fueled by excitement, but not faith.

“We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by ‘looking unto Jesus’. Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him. Oh! Let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee.”
-C. H. Spurgeon

Next, we see the townspeople coming out to see what the hoopla is all about. These people are curious. They discover the demoniac now delivered, yet the pigs drowned, and they don’t appreciate the tradeoff in the least. This man’s life was not worth the economic loss to them–and they feared even greater losses. Fearful that Jesus will take away more than He will provide, they choose the temporal over the eternal and beg Jesus to leave their region.

Then there is the healed demoniac. The one that lived in his personal hell on earth, the one that wailed and moaned in his darkness and depravity, the one who felt his skin being torn by his gnashing and cuttings, the one Jesus delivered with His Word. It is not so surprising to see his reaction of overwhelming appreciation and love. Jesus had saved him, and his response was love towards the Master.

This healed man’s grateful response was similar to adoration shone by the sinful woman who anointed Jesus by washing His feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair them while the Pharisees sneered. Jesus affirmed her actions just as He did this healed man’s response:

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:44-47)

It is easy to compare ourselves to others and think we are not all that bad. When we look around us instead of above us perhaps we do not seem like we need a Savior at all. And yet, every soul born from Adam is in need of saving. Scripture tells us that no one is righteous not even one. Scripture tells us that all have sinned and fall short of God’s standard. And Scripture tells us that every sin carries with it a death sentence. Those that know Jesus know this. Jesus says to each one of us much the same thing He said to the healed demoniac: “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

Take It to Heart

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:10-13)

The demoniac was freed from his chains and was obedient to the Lord’s Word. He became an evangelist by merely telling what Jesus had done for him. What has Jesus done for you? What is your response to Him? Are you sharing your story?