Summary: 3 Questions: "How does Jesus disturb people? Why does Jesus disturb people? How will you respond?"
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
A. In the 5th chapter of the Gospel of Mark there is an intriguing story. For many of you it is a familiar one, but let me briefly summarize it for you, & then read 3 verses from it.
When Jesus & His disciples cross the Sea of Galilee & approach the town of Gergesa they encounter a man possessed with many demons. He is wild & uncontrollable, & because of that the people of Gergesa have bound him with chains & forced him to live in the hills among the tombs.
Jesus sees him & takes mercy upon him, & casts out the demons. When He does this they go into a herd of pigs & the pigs rush into the sea & drown. The people of Gergesa hear about this & come rushing to the scene, & in Mark 5:15-17 we find their reaction. Listen as I read it to you.
"When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed & in his right mind; & they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man - & told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region."
B. I’m sure that if we had gone to Gergesa a few weeks before this event we would have found a peaceful little community with the people very comfortable & contented there. But now Gergesa is in turmoil, & the reason is because Jesus has come to their town. And it has turned out to be a very disturbing visit!
ILL. Over the years, I have really enjoyed being in summer youth camps. As either a student or faculty member, I have taken part in at least 125 weeks of camp. But I’ll never forget the work day at a youth camp in Mo. when we cleaned out the swimming pool that had not been emptied the summer before.
We found the sparkling clear water which had provided so much cool refreshment during the previous summer’s heat had become horribly stagnant. It was green & thick, & all kinds of creatures had made it their abode.
As we began working, some of those creatures would stick their heads up out of the water & look at us & then dive out of sight. Then they would come up & look again. That stagnant water was a seething bed of life & activity.
But we went right on ahead with our job. We put in a pump, started up the motor, & the water was soon gushing out of the pool onto the ground. A sickening green foam formed over the end of the hose & the air was filled with a terrible stench.
Then, as the water level began to go down, those creatures living in the depths of our swimming pool became extremely agitated. It must have occurred to their minute brains that their security was being threatened. As the water level went down they started scurrying around. We got rid of about 8 or 9 snakes, plus other creatures that inhabited the depths of the pool.
I’m convinced that if we could have heard & understood their voices as the water level was going down, they probably would have been crying in unison, "Leave us alone. We don’t want you here. We’re comfortable, & we don’t want to be disturbed."
APPL. That is exactly how they reacted in Gergesa. They were very comfortable in their lifestyle. But Jesus came & shook their complacency. And they begged Him to leave, "We don’t want you here anymore."
C. Now this was not the only time something like that happened to Jesus.
ILL. One day He was in the synagogue of His hometown, Nazareth, & read that wonderful passage of scripture from Isaiah where it says, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me."
I can just see the ladies nudging each other & saying, "Isn’t it wonderful that one of our hometown boys became a rabbi?" "Yes, & he reads so well." The Bible says that they "all were speaking well of Him."
Then he shattered their composure by telling them that the Jews were God’s chosen people, yes, but they weren’t the only ones who belonged to God. And they didn’t want to hear that.
Jesus illustrated that with two stories from the Old Testament. He said, "Remember when Elijah needed help & a widow helped him? She was not a Jewish widow. She was a Gentile, & God showered His blessings upon her. And remember that in Elisha’s day there many Jews who had leprosy. But only one leper was cured. His name was Naaman, & he was not a Jew."