“On Your Mark”
To Know Him is to Love Him (Chapter 5 Verses 1-20)
The herdsmen’s report, no doubt to the owners of the pigs (v14), bring the people out to see Jesus, and, no doubt, to see this demoniac too. They knew the man only too well, he had often terrorized them, they had often tried to restrain him and could not (v4). And now here he is, clothed, self-controlled, sensible. Who could work such a transformation? But more to the point who could be a witness to this mighty act of compassion by the Lord, and deliberately reject him? In their gross unreasonable unbelief, blinded to his grace, they withdrew from him in fear (v15). Do you see the responsibility involved here? Again the herdsmen testify (v16), telling it just as it was. They were eyewitnesses, and on the basis of their full testimony, they act (John 15.22-25). Jesus will not stay where he is not wanted. We can understand the man’s request, can’t we (v18)? I mean after such a deliverance from evil, who would not want to stay close to the Lord. I mean, that is the only safe place. Instead he is instructed to declare the Lord’s goodness amongst his family (v19). These people who have requested Jesus to leave, will in spite of their request have among them an ordained preacher, even though he has not been to Bible College. He will proclaim the great things of the Lord, the good news of the gospel. There surely, is grace, love so great, that refuses to give up on these folk. This man will be a living testimony to them (2Corinthians 3.2-3). That the Lord Jehovah has come to them in the person of his Son, Jesus.
The man does just what he is told (v20). In telling what Jesus had done is synonymous with what the Lord had done, he knows who Jesus is (1Timothy 3.16; John 10.30). The Decapolis is a group of ten cities, or towns. The thought is that this man diligently went around these towns preaching the grace of God in Christ, compelled, driven by the love he had been shown (1Corinthians 9.16). It would begin with his own family, as with us all, but eventually extend out into the community. This man’s life had been radically changed, his heart, and whole personality captured and brought under obedience to Christ. He had taken up his cross and there was no turning back. The love of Jesus had closed in on him like a trap, faith had brought heaven to his soul. He now saw how little he was, how great God was, and O the preciousness of Jesus Christ to his dear soul (1Peter 2.7). The Psalmist says he loves the Lord because of his deliverance (Psalm 116.1ff), and John says, we love him because he first loved us (1John 4.19). Perfect love knows no fear, what is there to fear in such perfect love?
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)