Luke 8:26-56; Genesis 13:1-14:24; Psalm 7
I’m living on the fringes of the author world right now. I haven’t published anything other than my devotionals here on this blog, but I’m working at it. I’m making contacts and getting to know some great people in the meanwhile. Here is a secret about authors. Many of them are willing to give other authors electronic copies of their books so that they will read them and tell others about them. I’ve read some different types of books than I might normally because of that. Some, I’m happy to tell about. I love talking about great books that are fun to read. It’s even more fun when I get to see an author react to my good review. When we have a good experience with something, we want to tell others.
There was a guy who had all kinds of troubles because he was demon possessed. The people of the town didn’t like him around. They had guarded him and chained him and the demons took control of him so that he was able to break those chains. He was living in the cemetery so that no one would be around him. Jesus sailed across the sea of Galilee and met him when He came ashore. The area was a Gentile area, and the guy probably hadn’t caught any of the news on CNN, so he would have no reason to know who Jesus was, but the demons recognized Him and begged Jesus not to torture them. To make a long story short, Jesus healed the demon possessed man. He was so grateful that he wanted to walk with Jesus. Jesus had a different plan. “’Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” (Luke 8:39)
It’s interesting that in many cases, Jesus asked people not to tell about the miracles He performed. A few verses later He raised a child from the dead and ordered the family not to tell others about that. It all gets down to the purpose of His ministry, I think. If news about raising a child from the dead were spread, people would focus on seeking Jesus to raise their dead kin. That wasn’t His ministry. His ministry was restoring people in their relationship with God. The man from the Gerasenes was restored as the demons were thrown out. He had a special message to his family and former friends that would eventually clear the way for Gentiles to come to know God. This is why I think that Jesus told the man to go back home and tell the story. How else would they hear about the love of God? How else would they be able to know about the One, True God since they didn’t have the Scriptures?
Today people will often get so enmeshed in miracles that they forget the main purpose of Jesus. I’ve heard advertisements for revivals where miracles were practically guaranteed because the preacher was a miracle worker. Let that sink in. Jesus is about changed lives. Jesus is about restoring our relationship with God through His death on the cross. Jesus is about mercy and grace. Miracles do happen as Jesus works, I have no doubt about that. The biggest miracle of all is a changed life as people commit to living in their restored relationship with God. Jesus never commands us to go and broadcast miraculous healings or event; He commands us to tell how God has worked in our lives and how He can work in the lives of others. The message the world needs to hear is that “God changed me by forgiving me and giving me the grace to live for Him each day.” Now, go and spread that good news to others!
Lord God, what an amazing difference You have made in my life. You have forgiven me for straying from Your plan. You have given me the strength to live for You each day. When I have strayed since then, You continue to give me mercy. Help me to tell others about Your forgiveness and grace.
Daily Devotion by Bob James