"They came to Jesus and saw the man who used to have the many evil spirits, sitting, clothed, and in his right mind. And they were frightened. The people who saw this told the others what had happened to the man who had the demons living in him, and they told about the pigs. Then the people began to beg Jesus to leave their area." (Mark 5:15-17)They did what? The people began to beg Jesus to leave the area.
You mean the people asked Jesus to leave? That's right. Rather than thank him, they dismissed him? You got it. What would cause people to do such a thing?
Good question. What would cause people to prefer pigs and lunatics over the presence of God?
Or better ...
What would cause an alcoholic to prefer drunken misery over sobriety?
What would cause a church to prefer slumber over revival?
What would cause a nation to prefer slavery over freedom?
What would cause people to prefer yesterday’s traditions over today’s living God?
The answer? Fear of change. Change is hard work. It’s easier to follow the same old path than to move out into uncharted territory.
So the people dismissed Jesus. And since Jesus never goes where he isn't invited, he steps back into the boat.
Now watch what happens next.
"As Jesus was getting back into the boat, the man who was freed from the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus would not let him." (Mark 5:18)Strange way to treat a new believer, don't you think? Why wouldn't Jesus take him along? Simple. He had greater plans for him. "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you" (v. 19).
There it is. The commissioning of the first missionary. One minute insane, the next in Christ. No training. No teaching. All he knew was that Jesus could scare the hell out of hell and apparently that was enough.
But even more surprising than the man who was sent is the fact that anyone was sent. I wouldn't have sent a missionary to some people who had just given me the boot, would you? A plague perhaps, but not a missionary. But Christ did.
And Christ does. He still sends the message to the unworthy. And he still uses the unworthy as messengers.
After all, look who’s reading this book.
And look who wrote it.