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When He saw Jesus Afar Off

(Mark 5:1-20)

In the chapter preceding the scripture below, Jesus had calmed a great storm on the sea. But that miracle was not nearly as great as the miracle that followed – the miracle of calming a great storm in the sea of a desperate man’s heart.

And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

This poor man lived much of his life among the dead. What surrounded him must have brought him despair and distress. If he attempted to turn inside himself for comfort he found no hope there for his was an unclean spirit. No man could help him. Can you imagine such a state? Perhaps it hits close to home in some way.

And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

His was a very lonely life. There was no soft voice of a loved one to encourage him, no gentle touch of a friend to comfort him. He was in constant sorrow and his own actions brought him nothing but pain and harm.

But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God?

A change had begun that probably neither he nor anyone who knew him would have thought possible. It was a first step that had opened a crack in the window of hope. So often in the lives of people, God’s glorious change starts with that person catching a glimpse of Jesus afar off at first.

I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

When God begins to draw someone to himself who has lived without him for a long time, there are things within the heart that are contrary to God’s ways: things that repel them in one way but may attract them in another. Such is often the confused state of man before salvation or restoration.

Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

When God finally gets the victory in a person’s life it may come suddenly and in a decisive and unusual way.

And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.

God had calmed the raging storm in this man’s heart. His outward actions had become settled, his appearance had become godly, and his inward thoughts were now right. Only Jesus could have made such a change. But the world is often more comfortable with sin that is familiar than with a practical holiness that is foreign to them.

And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

When Jesus draws someone to him and they finally come to him, that person wants to be with him. This desire is wonderful and one way that God has chosen for us to stay close to him is by telling others what great things he as done for us.

Have you seen Jesus afar off? My prayer is that you will come to him!

Has God done great things for you? Stay close to God by telling others!

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