Summary: It is ours to run to Jesus if all the running was ours, but the real truth is that the Lord runs to us.
HE RAN AND HE RAN
Text: Mark 5:6 “But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him”.
Luke 15:20 “But when he was a yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion and he ran and embraced him, and kissed him”.
These two texts taken from different parts of the Bible have a similar message. The man runs to Jesus from afar, and the father runs to his prodigal son from afar. A needle will move toward magnet when
once the magnet moves towards it. It is ours to run to Jesus if all the running was ours, but the real truth is that the Lord runs to us. These verses illustrate the difference between our action toward the Lord and the Lord’s action toward us, but let us note first.
I. That the sinners place is afar off
A. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians addresses them as those who were once afar off, without Christ, without a place among God’s people, without a share in the covenants of promise, without hope
and without God in the world. Afar off because like sheep they had gone astray and each had turned to his own way. When Peter denied Jesus it might have been the result of his following afar off. Backsliders and sinners are indeed afar off. God says Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”, saith the Lord. What a vast difference in character between the demoniac and Jesus. What a great difference between the prodigal son and his loving Father. What a difference between man and God in every way.
B. Sinners are by nature afar off
The Bible tells us that by nature we are “children of wrath and disobedient. Solomon tells us that we have followed the way that seems to be right but it wasn’t right and it let us further away from God. When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, and heard the Angels singing Holy, Holy, Holy, he recognized the gulf between his
sinful self and a holy god, and cried out, “I am a man of unclean lips. After the miraculous catch of fish Peter fell down before the Lord saying, “Depart from me for I am a sinful man O Lord” (Luke 5:8).
The sense of God’s presence makes one feel is unworthiness and sinfulness. If we could have a vision of God’s holiness and righteousness and then looking at ourselves we would agree with
God’s word, that our self righteousness best is as filthy rags in God’s sight, and will never excuse us from the wrath against sin and against us if we are sinners, and the Bible says all are sinners.
C. At best “the heart of the natural man is deceitful and desperately wicked. Who can know it?”
According to Mark 15, “it is the abode of evil”. Matthew 15:19, Matthew says, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,adulteries, fornication’s, thefts, false witnessing, blasphemies. These are the things which defile.” Solomon said, “it is fully set to do evil” and yet the moralists try to convince us that the natural heart can be reformed.
Paul tells to put off the old man, the old manner of life which is characterized by lying, anger, stealing, evil speaking, bitterness, wrath and giving place to Satan in other ways. He urges us to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. The heart needs replacing instead of renewing. God promises us to remove the stony heart with one of flesh. “He will not depise a broken and contrite heart.” God places a wider gulf so much that it is hard to tell a christian from a non-christian. Christianity so called and worldliness so called are close together despite the devine injunction for a clear cut separation from the world.
II. The sinner’s place is afar off as to knowledge of God’s love and mercy.
A. Paul in Ephesians 4:17-18 speaks of unbelievers having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God,
through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart and have given themselves over to sin”.They have made a wrong choice. Their way is down and not up. The demoniac knew Jesus by name but knew little of the tenderness of his heart and of his ability to save them from the uttermost to the uttermost all who come to God by him. The prodigal knew little of his father’s heart of tenderness, love and mercy. The way out of the mire was filled with dread of rejection. Had we have known the real character, God His father he wouldn’t have waited so long to return. Jesus tells us that all Heaven rejoices when a sinner repents and comes home to the father’s house and heart. The sinner’s hesitance is returning is that he cannot believe that God will welcome him. Such an attitude causes him to be.