Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My 2011 Assignment...Pilgrimage Begins #3...

I continue to explore the application of Jesus' words to a newly healed man,
Luke 8: 39a  "Return home and tell how much God has done for you."
I have looked at the man and the villagers who heard and saw what happened as Jesus came on shore in their neighborhood and radically changed one man's life.

I have some more thoughts about this man in relation to the assignment Jesus gave him.  The man was begging Jesus to allow him to go with him.  Because of fear, the villagers had asked Jesus to leave and he was obliging them. So Jesus was getting back into the boat to leave.  But rather than take the healed demoniac with him, he gave him this assignment:
Luke 8: 39a  "Return home and tell how much God has done for you."
I've been thinking about reasons that this man would have been begging to go with Jesus.  I imagine that all of the following are experiences and feelings which he was having as a result of Jesus' love and action.
  • He had just met Jesus who had listened to him and responded with power and the gift of freedom.
  • He had just become a healed person who was able to physically control his own body.
  • He had been released from binding chains and human guards.
  • He was clothed with garments that helped him feel cared for and human.
  • He was able to focus his mind, heart and attention on Jesus' instructive words.
  • He was receiving answers to questions he was able to articulate.
  • His hunger for acceptance and truth was being fed. 
  • He was learning what it was like to experience an atmosphere of contentment and calm.
Of course he would want to stay with Jesus.  Jesus was healing and redeeming him and he wanted more of all that love and kindness and truth.
One of the most amazing things to me about Jesus' words to him, is that Jesus had confidence that he was ready to: 
Luke 8: 39a  "Return home and tell how much God has done for you."
How could he be ready?  He had spent so little time in Bible Study and prayer.  He hadn't been to college or seminary or taken any online Bible coursesHe hadn't studied methods of evangelism nor witnessingI'm not saying these aren't good things to do but Jesus had a different plan for this man's launch as a witness for God.  It must be that Jesus knew this man's truthful telling of his life's story would be winsomely compelling wherever this man went with his new found voice of godly praise.  Jesus had started this man on his way to wholeness and he trusted him to follow through obediently.  
Luke 8: 39b  So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
I am so happy for this man!  His obedience excites me!  The Bible does not tell us the results of his words and actions but Jesus hadn't promised him a certain outcome.  All who heard his story had his same freedom to believe and trust or scoff and deny.  I'd like to think that there were many Jesus followers as a result of this man's voice but I find freedom in not knowing.    Jesus asked for verbal action and was hastily obeyed.
And I see something else that excites me as I soak in these verses today.  Jesus' words after healing this man were "...tell how much God..."
And the man went away and "...told all over town how much Jesus..."
Notice the change of name?  This man accurately, confidently recognized that Jesus was God.  He may not have understood how spiritually astute this was but I'm excited to see this as affirmation that Jesus was not just a man but he was God. Jesus gave this man an assignment to tell how much "God" had done for him, knowing that he would tell how much "Jesus" had done for him.  In this I see Jesus' claim to be God.  This is proof of his divinity.  In verse 28, the voice of an indwelling demon had called to "Jesus, Son of the Most High God".  This demon also knew Jesus was God.  This story builds my confidence in the truth of God the Father and God the Son.
I am marveling at the wonder and creativity of God's  redemption plan.  He allows his created human population to become tethered and broken by torturing demons but when there's a cry and a bow, Jesus responds with a command to the evil spirits to flee and the torment ceases and peace prevails.  A mighty God cares for his children and I am grateful. 

Still more to learn and share on another day.

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