Summary: Just as Jesus told the healed man to tell others how much God had done for him--we have the same calling.
“We Have a Story to Tell”
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer,
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
Why are we here this morning?
Why are we not doing what most of the people in our
community are doing
right this moment?…
Trying to overcome a hangover from the night before.
Cutting the lawn…
Could it be that something has happened in our
great…that we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else?
Or could it be that we are searching for something…
…something we have seen in others, something we know exists, but have not yet experienced for ourselves?
I know what my answer is.
What is your answer or reason for being here?
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning Jesus is met by a
who wants nothing to do with Him.
He is afraid of God.
The presence of the Holy for him is a tormenting thing.
But in the later part of our Lesson we see a new man.
Legion is healed.
He is sitting at the feet of Jesus, not because he has
to—but because he
would not want to be anywhere else.
And he even begs Jesus to allow Him to come with Jesus onto the next town and the next and the next.
Not only is he no longer fearful of God, but he can’t get
enough of Him.
He wants to be with Him at all times and everywhere.
How many of us were like Legion before we were saved?
We weren’t comfortable with God.
He was a fearful thought to us.
And even though our lives were not whole…
…even though we were possessed by many demons who drove us to
…we still did not want to be healed.
At first glance, it may seem very odd to us that Legion was
not overjoyed when he first met Jesus.
Legion was naked and unwashed.
He had no home, but lived alone in a cemetery, chained their
by townspeople who were at their wits end with how to deal with him.
“Many times…” Legion “had broken his chains”… but the demon drove him into
even more horrible situations.
How many of us have tried to ‘break our chains’---to ‘save’
ourselves only to find that our own salvation is no salvation at all?
Maybe we were comfortable in our sickness—in our sin—we liked
playing with evil…we thought that evil was the answer to the miseries of this life.
Listen to what Jesus says in John chapter 3: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light
because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”
It’s like sitting in a dark room, and someone suddenly turns
on the lights.
What might be our first reaction?
Well, the light hurts our eyes…
…the light causes us pain as we see ourselves as we are—sinners in need of God…
…so we either turn the light back off or leave it on—allowing our
eyes to see sin for what sin is…
…allowing the Light of Jesus to cause us to repent and change…
…and then learning to love that Light that has finally brought us
real hope, real peace, real joy, real love!!!
Is that why we are here?
Can we relate to this?
When I was working in a tee-shirt shop in a mall in Syracuse—after having given up on my first career in journalism…after having rejected the call of God in my life to go into the ministry…
…I thought that I was happy.
I had finally given up my struggle with the Almighty.
I wanted nothing to do with Him anymore.
And then, and then…
I started to get my faith back.
At first this scared me.
I had a successful business going.
I had been struggling with faith issues for a long time.
But the call of God would not leave me alone.
As I received the gift of faith in God through Jesus Christ—and it is a gift…well…
I remember the joy, and the overwhelming sense of thankfulness!!!
I had blown it the first time…
…I wasn’t going to blow it again.
I would let the lease run out on my store, apply to seminary and get on with the work of telling the world about the “Treasure hidden in the field”…about the “Pearl of great price”…
About the life-changing experience that comes when one accepts Christ’s offer of healing.
I walked across the hallway of the mall one morning and told another storeowner, “I had forgotten what it was like to be happy. I had forgotten what it was like to feel that life is actually worth living!!! I didn’t even realize how miserable I was.”