Take Me To Church: 13/8/17.
Hebrews 7 (NIV UK)
25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Honestly church was really good today. There was a guest speaker all the way from Northern Ireland and he was hilarious! His message was spoken in such a great way I was sat trying to work out what his message was about but I could not work it out upon where he was preaching from. He was preaching from Luke 8:26-39 which is one of those passages that can be quite shocking when you think about what this man went through in his life before Jesus came along.
Luke 8:26-39 (NIVUK)
Jesus restores a demon-possessed man.
…27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!’ 29 For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places…
32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned…
38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 ‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over the town how much Jesus had done for him.
His three main points were the power of; Community, Christ and Testimony.
The community that the man lived in could have treated the man far worse than they did but they allowed him to live on the outskirts of the community. They could have given up on him completely and shipped him off somewhere else for them to deal with. But they didn’t do that; yes chaining him may seem excessive now but they did it for their safety and his also. If this community had not kept him on the out skirts of their city we may never have heard this mans story.
What Jesus did for this man is one of the things in the Bible that I personally had not really fully taken in for what it truly is. I had gotten lost at he allowed the demons to go into the pigs and the pigs ran off the cliff; “What Jesus? You just drove all of that bacon off the cliffs what must those farmers have thought of you.” (They didn’t eat pork so it didn’t really matter.) I had not actually seen what this pastor had been shown by God. I think like most people we sometimes get lost in the insignificant or focusing on the devil that we lose sight of God.
Jesus came into this mans life at a point where most of us would have given up on someone and not even have bothered to get help for him. In a single moment Jesus came into this mans life and completely changed everything that the devil had been doing for a lifetime. In one moment God undid everything that the devil had taken so long to do. This shows us that the devil does not have the power that we seem to think he has over our lives and what God can do. It took the devil and his minions years of this mans live to get him to a place of absolute desolation but it only took Jesus’ presence and a few words for all of that to be undone and the man to be restored.
I think like most people I sometimes focus so much on the evil and not on God and fail to see how powerful God is. In all my time of knowing this mans story and what Jesus did all I really had taken away from it was legion and the pigs. What I failed to see was the little details. Jesus had not gone out seeking this man, no one had asked him to come and pray for him, He was simply in the right place at the right time and that changed his life for good. He was fully restored and was sat with Jesus; that is powerful, what was actually happening and the metaphor for us. We will be fully restored and seated with God one day thanks to Jesus interceding and intervening for us.
When the man had been set free and released from years of torment he wanted to travel with Jesus but Jesus instructed him to go and show himself to the people in his community. This was not about Jesus showing off and saying look what I did now come and follow me. This was about the people seeing what Jesus had done with their own eyes. They knew the man first hand and they could testify to the man being demon possessed and to him being restored to full health.
Pastor said that the man could have gone with Jesus to Jerusalem but when he got there who would have believed him and actually believed in Jesus. Most people would have accused him of being a liar, a plant, embellished, a whole manner of things that we hear today. But Jesus told him to go back to his people because they were the only ones who could really look at the man and say yes there has been a change within him. Yes ultimately what they saw scared them and they asked Jesus to leave their town but they could not deny that this man who had gone from uncontrollable and not knowing who he was was fully healed now.
As Christians today it can sometimes be tempting to scream and shout about what God has done but like with this man, sometimes the best and most life shifting approach is to just show yourself as a new person to those who are around you. When Jesus changes our lives we need to show ourselves as those restored people to the ones who saw us when we were controlled by evil and lies. People who never knew us may not fully believe that we are new but the people who knew us then and now will be able to testify and want what we have experienced.
This man’s life and story changed with one encounter with Jesus. That one moment restored him and his story is still to this day being used to help people be restored. Don’t lose hope over your loved ones and those who may seem as though they are beyond repair.
God did it for the man with a legion of demons in him he can do it for anyone of us.
Keep praying. Keep praising Him. Keep Thanking Him.
Before you know it you will be living in your answered prayer.
I am one of those people who encountered Jesus and was changed forever. Don’t give up.