Summary: Jesus had a commission from the Father, which He fulfilled perfectly. We also have a commission, but ministry opportunities aren’t always pretty.
I call the Gospel of Mark the ‘guy’s gospel’. It’s full of action from the very start. It is descriptive. Jesus sleeps in the boat during a storm, we’re told by Matthew Mark and Luke, but only Mark mentions that He’s sleeping on a cushion (4:38). All four Gospel writers tell of His feeding of the five thousand, but only Mark tells us that He commanded the five thousand to recline on the green grass as He prepared to feed them. (6:39) And Jesus is constantly on the go and doing something. In chapter 4 He is Master of the wind and the sea. In chapter five alone, He commands demons, heals a woman of a twelve year hemorrhage, and raises a little girl from the dead.
Since we aren’t going into chapter 6 today, I just want you to take notice that these things that happen in chapter 5 take place in the Decapolis; a region of 10 cities inhabited almost entirely by Greeks…gentiles… but in Chapter 6 when He goes to His own hometown, inhabited by Jews, they take offense and reject Him.
But we’re in chapter 5. More specifically, the first 20 verses, which give us the account of the Gerasene demoniac. I thought we might focus our attention there today and see what nuggets we can find lying around.
Jesus had a commission, you know. And that’s not something we determine by a systematic study of the doctrinal epistles. Jesus made it abundantly clear with His own words.
Since we’re in Mark today, let’s use a verse from Mark to prove this point. In chapter 9 verse 37 Jesus says, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”
Now, having dutifully stuck to the Gospel of our text for that reference, let me just tell you that in John’s Gospel, he quotes Jesus no less than 29 times, using the term “Him who sent Me”, or something close to that, like, “the Father has sent Me”.
So we have to agree, that although His coming was determined in the absolute unity of the Trinity before time began, yet in submission to the Father, Jesus came commissioned by the Father, to do His will. (Jn 4:34)
And what was His stated mission? We find it in Luke 19:10 “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”.
This is the cause that earmarked Christ’s earthly ministry. It was evident in every contact, every step of His journeying, everything He said. His commission was to seek and to save that which was lost, and so consumed was He by that passion, that at the age of 30 the Pharisees thought He was closer to 50. It was the driving force of every minute of His day, and it took Him to a cross.
He often prayed all night to get the Father’s strength and direction for the coming day; and by the time the sun was up, the Son was up; and going about doing good and healing those who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Now having said all that, this is what I want you to be very cognizant of. Often, when He said, let’s go here, or let’s go there, if you pay attention to the text and keep track of where He is, what He is doing, and then where He goes after doing that thing, you’ll realize that the only reason He went there was to do that thing!
You see, we just kind of wander through our days sometimes, with no apparent purpose except to get through them.
Most everyone knows of the newspaper comic strip called “Family Circus”. It pokes fun in a gentle way at the typical family life in a home with several very young children.
I remember one that started out with the mother giving the oldest boy, who appears to be about 6, something to take to the neighbor next door. Then the next frame is from a bird’s-eye view, and there is a dotted line showing the route the boy took to get next door. The line takes him across the street, through a park, stops at a swing set and slide, moves on to a brick wall that he apparently scaled and walked like a tightrope, around several other houses, stopping to talk to little boys and girls in the neighborhood, and finally stops at the front door of the next door neighbor’s house with the item he was to deliver.
I think that sometimes our days are much like that, except that at the end we haven’t delivered anything of value at all.
I wonder how fruitful and prosperous, both for ourselves and the Kingdom of God, our lives would be if we prayed well into the night for the Father’s direction for the coming day?