Summary: A sermon that details a series of miracles from Jesus ministry and the reaction of those who were involved.
"When God Steps In!"
Mark 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
INTRODUCTION: It is difficult for us to understand what happened at Gadara against the backdrop of our culture. In a sermon introduction by Doane Brubaker, (a Menonite pastor) he writes:
"Have you noticed how popular entertainment has made some pretty fearsome, terrible beings into loveable characters? Real pirates like Black Bart Roberts and Blackbeard were kidnappers, thieves, rapists, and murderers. Not the stuff heroes are made of. But in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his crew are "heroes" who also make us laugh.
When I was a child, trolls were really ugly critters who terrorized innocent billy goats trying to cross a bridge but now they're these cute little dolls and characters in cartoons. Also, when I was a kid, aliens were terrifying beings determined to annihilate the earth. (I like Alien and Predator) But along came "E.T." who proved aliens really are loveable and kid-friendly. Of course we all know that dragons are born to incinerate or devour people but then we discover in "Shrek" what loyal and loving companions they can be." The trouble is we see Satan, demons and other dangerous characters from the spirit world depicted so often in books, movies and other forms of media that they have become commonplace and it's very seldom that folks are made uncomfortable by what they see and hear anymore. When I was much younger "The Exorcist" came out and created quite a stir but now this movie seems tame by comparison. We have been exposed to so much of this type of thing that we forget that it is a very real and dangerous thing. There is such a person as Satan and there are really demons and there is evil in this world. Two thousand years ago this kind of thing would have been frightening and a source of great fear! But I'm getting ahead of myself a little bit.
In chapter 4 we learn that Jesus is at the height of his popularity and He and the disciples have seen a "...great multitude..." of people. There have been so many in fact that the Lord got in a "ship" and taught "in the sea." The Lord teaches all day long and towards evening He gives the disciples a command to "...pass over unto the other side," and that's where I want to pick up this sequence of events.
I. The Directions of the Savior
a. God is inscrutable
All of us are familiar with the passage that says, "...for my ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts..." and we usually quote this when we don't understand what God seems to be doing. Several things come to mind here along this line. First, the Lord is attracting huge crowds and His teaching ministry is reaching large numbers yet He leaves all this to cross the Sea of Galilee to visit a grave yard to minister to one demon possessed man. Second, He tells his disciples, many of whom were experienced sailors, to make this crossing after dark and sailors being what they are they probably anticipated rough weather. There is an old nautical expression that goes, "red sky at morning, sailor take warning, red sky at night, sailors delight!" Now the text doesn't say this but we could ask the question, why not wait until daylight, why take the chance, what is the hurry? But Jesus gives the disciples their instructions and then promptly proceeds to go to the rear of the little boat and to go to sleep!
b. God is intentional
I have asked this question before but this is a good time to ask it again. "Has it ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God?" He never does anything "off the cuff!" Most of us would want to avoid this man and would go to great lengths to do so but Jesus left the multitude deliberately to visit this maniac! On another occasion, Jesus said that He needed to go to Samaria and it is there that He meets the women at the well and changes her life.
c. God is insightful
Did Jesus know that this man would be there? There is no doubt in my mind that the One who knows the number of grains of sand in the sea and knows the number of hairs on my head and sees a sparrow when it falls, also knows where you and I are at any given time in our lives. Believe me when I say that Jesus knows where you live my friend and what your circumstances are at any given moment in time!