Blog Detail
RSS Feed

Worship Message - Even When It Makes No Sense

Even When It Makes No Sense

Do whatever Jesus tells you. That is the theme of our messages in these weeks leading

up to Lent.

So far, we have considered passages in the Bible in which Jesus tells us to repent, to

believe in Him, and to follow Him. We have considered passages in the Bible in which

Jesus tells us to follow Him on good days and difficult days alike.

Today, we will consider passages in the Bible in which Jesus tells us to follow Him even

when what He wants us to do makes no sense to us. For that, I have two passages to

highlight that, to me, fit the description of words that might not have made sense to

those who heard them. I hope those words will be adequately applied to us. One

passage has Jesus telling that sometimes our Christian service is to be done at and near

home. The other has Jesus telling it is OK to rest.

For the first topic, we will look at the first part of Mark 5.

In verse 1 of Mark 5, it is reported Jesus and His disciples, who had been on the western

side of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus had been teaching throughout the day before,

arrived on the eastern side of the Sea. The evening before, Jesus and His disciples had

started across the Sea, sailing from west to east.

During the voyage - about eight miles at that part of the Sea - a storm had come up

suddenly. The wind-caused waves had nearly capsized the boat until Jesus, in a miracle,

calmed the storm.

Now, still at night, they arrived on the eastern shore of the Sea, in the country of the

Gerasenes.

Remember it was at night they landed. Remember they had just survived a nearly-fatal

storm. So the disciples were tired and their nerves were already on high alert. I think

Jesus was calm. That is just the way He was. But the disciples were tired and on

edge when they reached land, which just happened to be near a graveyard, which

made the night even spookier.

It became spookier still when suddenly, they and Jesus were met by a man with an

unclean spirit. It is at least implied by a later verse the man was unclothed. It can be

assumed the man’s hair was wild, his face tortured. According to verse 5, his body was

covered by self-inflicted bruises. And he yelled and screamed. Much of what he said

was unintelligible, but he cried out as he approached Jesus and the disciples.

As soon as Jesus and the disciples got out of the boat that night, they were met by a

deranged man. Deranged because of an unclean spirit, which actually may not have

been just one spirit, but many. That is evident in the answer to a question Jesus asked

the man. In verse 9, Jesus asked - actually, He asked the spirit in the man - “What is

your name?” The answer was, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

That name could mean either of two things.

In that area, the Roman army was divided into legions, each one consisting of thousands

of soldiers. The name might mean there were many, many spirits in the man. In fact,

that will be proved a bit later.

In addition, Roman soldiers were known for committing horrendous atrocities on

people. So the name could also mean the spirits were causing the man to do horrible

things.

Or maybe the point of the name is that both those things described what was inside the

man. That is very likely the way it was as he was way out of control, having become so

strong no one could bind him anymore, even with chains or fetters.

With that, he caused disturbances for sane people nearby. He did that by constantly

crying out. Can you imagine how quick graveside services had to be, the hope being to

avoid being accosted by the man?

And yes, he did harm himself by bruising himself with stones. He did that night and

day, which means he seldom rested, which would have just added to his insanity.

That was the kind of man who met Jesus and the disciples when they got out of the boat.

But wait. Noticed why the man approached Jesus. It was not to torment the Lord and

His followers. Bothering people had been his purpose before, but now - verse 6 - when

the man saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.

Jesus reacted by speaking to the evil - to the unclean spirit - in the man. He ordered

what was evil to leave the man. “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit,” Jesus said.

Interestingly, this is one of the few times when what Jesus said was not obeyed right

away. With the storm earlier, the wind-driven waves stopped as soon as they were

ordered to do so. Most other times of healing, the miracles happened right away. This

time, however, the healing did not happen immediately.

Instead, what was evil in the man answered back. The man cried out - I think it was the

evil within Him that at least prompted the words - but the man cried out, “What have

you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” Wow. What was evil knew who

Jesus is. He then added, “I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”

In response to that, Jesus asked, “What is your name?” That is when the name Legion

was shared. Legion then begged Jesus to not send them out of the country.

I am not sure what that means, but perhaps the unclean spirits had had it easy in finding

a host in that area. Maybe they did not want to have to go to a more difficult region. But

Jesus agreed to what was begged. He did not send them out of the country.

However, nearby, a great herd of swine was feeding on a hillside. I think maybe Jesus

and Legion noticed the herd at the same time. Legion begged Jesus, “Send us to the

swine. Let us enter them.”

Swine were considered unclean animals. What better place for Legion to be? Jesus gave

them leave. He allowed them to go from the man to the swine.

Listen to what happened. I do not know if this is what Legion intended, but when the

unclean spirits came out of the man and entered the swine, the herd - which numbered

about 2,000 - was that how many spirits had been in the man? Wow. Imagine that.

The herd - and by the way, you know how, in some movies when an animal is about to

be portrayed as being hurt, there is often the disclaimer that no animals were injured in

the filming? That disclaimer could not have been made here. The herd - all 2,000 of the

swine - as soon as the evil spirits were in them - rushed down the steep bank beside

where they were. They ran right into the sea. All were drowned.

Immediately, the herdsmen fled. I wonder why. Were they in awe of what had

happened? Or were they scared? Or were they angry?

More on that in just a moment, but they fled from the field to the city. They talked to

others on the way to the city. They told what they had witnessed. The result was that

people came to see what it was that had happened.

When they got to where Jesus was - how amazing would this have been to see - the

demoniac - the one who had been possessed by evil spirits - was with Him. The

demoniac - the former demoniac - the one who was no longer possessed - was sitting

beside Jesus! Clothed and in his right mind!

What a change. But listen to this. The reaction of the people - the herdsmen and all the

others who had gone to see was fear - was they were all afraid.

And listen to this. In their fear, they began to beg Jesus, not to do more miracles, and

not for His help in other areas of their lives, but to depart from their neighborhood.

Isn’t that amazing? No thanks. No appreciation. Just a request for Him to leave them

alone.

And again, was it fear? Part of it was. That is recorded. I wonder if there was some

anger as well. Especially from the herdsmen and the owners of the swine. After all, they

had just lost their animals - the investment of the owners, the jobs of the herdsmen.

Jesus again agreed to what was begged. He agreed to leave. He stepped back into the

boat, the purpose being to return to the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.

As He did that, the man who had been possessed with demons - the man who had been

healed - started doing some begging himself. He begged Jesus to let him also get into

the boat so he could go with Jesus.

That certainly would make sense. Why would the man not want to be with the one who

had healed him? How wonderful it would be for the man to remain with Jesus. To learn

more about Him and see some more miracles. To share the joy of all that with the other

disciples.

What the man begged makes sense. But this time Jesus refused. Jesus said to the man,

No. Instead, go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for

you, and how He has had mercy on you.” In other words, the man was to be a witness

for Jesus. A living, walking, vivid, unanswerable demonstration of what Jesus can do.

The man was to do that among his own people. His friends and his family.

Actually, that makes sense. It should make sense. It was a way for the message of Jesus

to be spread beyond the Jewish homeland. The country of the Gerasenes was beyond

the homeland of the Jew.

But I wonder if it made sense to the man. He must have really hoped to be allowed to

stay with his rescuer. In fact, that might have been easier than to stay behind.

Sometimes it can be difficult to share our faith with our own family and our friends.

With those who do not agree with us.

But remember the theme of this message. We are to do whatever Jesus tells us,

including to follow Him even when what He wants us to do makes no sense to us.

Wo it was the man agreed to stay behind. And he obeyed the part about telling others

about Jesus. After watching Jesus and His disciples sail away, the man went and began

to proclaim in the Decapolis. An area of ten cities that had, in the past, been controlled

by the Greeks, then by radical Jews, and at that time by the Roman government. The

man went to that area and proclaimed how much Jesus had done for him. And all men

marveled.

The challenge is of course for us to do the same. And hey, some are called to proclaim

Jesus in far away places. We used to support Tammie Tregellas in Africa. We do

support Gary and Gwen Bistritan on the island of Yap. We know Liz Underhill, who is

helping with that. We support Charlotte McPherson as she ministers in the Middle East.

Some are called to far away ministries. But some are called to share Jesus at home.

That, too, is a legitimate call. It, too, needs to be answered, whether you like it or not.

Including how difficult it can be to share faith with those you know who have not yet

accepted Jesus. If that is what we are called to, that is what we need to do. That is

taught in today’s first passage.

The second passage for today also touches on something that can tend to make no sense.

It is in Mark 6, part of the first part and finishing in the last part of the chapter. It has to

do with Jesus’ call to rest.

In Mark 6, Jesus and His disciples have returned to the western side of the Sea of

Galilee. The healed man is already preaching on the eastern side. Jesus and those with

Him are on the other side.

From the shore, Jesus and the disciples went to Jesus’ hometown area. In that area, one

sabbath day, Jesus began to teach.

What an interesting reaction He got there. In chapter 5, the reaction to Him was

fear. Here it was a reaction of questioning His authority. The people asked, “Where did

this man get all this? He sounds like He has wisdom, and we have heard reports about

mighty works He has done. But is not this the carpenter?”

I read the word “carpenter” was actually kind of a compliment. The word refers to a

craftsman. A very skilled worker with wood.

But at best, the use of that word is a depiction of a working man. As in Jesus being no

better than any of His listeners. I wonder if it could be worded, “Who does He think He

is trying to pass Himself off as someone important? Is this not the son of Mary [who

was common]? Is this not the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon [who

we know]? And are not His sisters here with us?”

Their point was that they knew Jesus’ family. Because of the familiarity, they did not

consider Him to be special. So when He talked as someone who had authority, they took

offense at Him, their point being that no one they knew should claim to be important.

That reaction caused Jesus to realize He could do no mighty work there. He left the

area.

However, He did not leave the ministry. He went to some other villages and taught in

them.

He also, as the master teacher, sent out His disciples on kind of a training mission. He

sent them out to teach others about Him. Their authority to do so was to come from

miracles they were to perform. Jesus gave them His authority over unclean spirits.

The disciples did go out. They did preach that men should repent, which was the same

message Jesus had been giving. They did cast out many demons. They also anointed

many who were sick, just as Jesus had been doing. Those who were anointed were

healed.

Then, after a time - a time of success - the disciples returned to Jesus.

They told Him all they had done and taught. I imagine the disciples were pumped. I

imagine they might have been eager, after their report, for another assignment. Another

sending out.

But listen to what Jesus said. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely

place, and rest a while.”

Remember the theme? It is to do whatever Jesus tells you, whether it makes sense to

you or not. This - what Jesus said to them when they returned - could not have made

sense to the disciples.

As recorded, they had been working very hard. So hard they had not had time even to

eat. So yes, they needed to rest at least long enough to get some nourishment. But there

was more work to do. More ministering to accomplish. Which they were eager to do.

And hey, they had been successful. Why stop now? “Let’s go,” they might have said to

Jesus.

But no. Jesus called them to rest. And guess what. The disciples obeyed. They got in a

boat and went toward a lonely place to be by themselves.

I wonder. Is Jesus teaching in this passage a kind of spiritual rhythm? A time of work,

then a time of rest. As will see in a moment, the disciples had another time to work

before another time of rest.

And think of this. I do not think it was just rest, as in just sleeping, that was the purpose

of getting away for a while. I think that as they were away, they prayed and probably

learned some more from Jesus. Which also speaks to a spiritual rhythm. Pray and

learn. Take the benefits of both out into the world. Then pray and learn some more.

Then go back out into the world.

In fact, such a rhythm follows.

As a crowd saw Jesus and His disciples going in the boat, they ran along the shore. The

people actually met them when their boat landed. Which means the only quiet time the

disciples had was on the boat.

On land, it was found the people had not prepared for what they had done. They had

arrived without food.

Knowing their need, Jesus took care of them by multiplying a little bit of food into

enough to feed everyone in the crowd. To feed them until they were satisfied. The

crowd numbered in the thousands. Five thousand men, plus women and children, were

there.

And it was not Jesus who worked. So, too, did the disciples as they organized the crowd

and then distributed the food and then cleaned up after the meal, each of them finding

enough food for themselves.

Guess what. Right after that, Jesus rested. He instructed the disciples to return to the

boat and go back again to the other side of the Sea. He then dismissed the crowd before

going up on a nearby mountain, His purpose being to pray. To rest in that way.

Which He did until the boat got into trouble. Whereupon He went to rescue the

disciples.

And there was more work to do as soon as they landed. When they got out of the boat,

immediately the people recognized Jesus. They ran about the whole neighborhood and

began to take sick people on their pallets to where He was.

The point is this. There was so much for Jesus to do. There were so many opportunities

for His disciples to help Him. There is so much we need to do.

And His work and His disciples’ work and the work we are given to do is so very

important. All of it is valued by God. All of which can make it so difficult to allow

ourselves permission to rest every now and then.

But do you sense the teaching? Do I get the teaching? Rest, whether it makes sense or

not, is part of the rhythm Jesus Himself used.

Do whatever Jesus tells you, whether it makes sense or not.

For instance, if He is calling you to proclaim Him right in your own home or

neighborhood, you might rather go somewhere else. That might make more sense to

you. But if He tells you what He told the healed man in today’s first passage, be like that

man and obey Him.

And if He is calling you to rest, do not argue. And yes, there is much each of us is given

to do. That we need to do. That is as true for us as it was for Jesus’ disciples. And when

we have opportunities to serve the Lord, we need to take advantage of them. But when

He tells you to rest, obey. Get into His spiritual rhythm.

Do whatever Jesus tells you.

Today’s closing song is the first three verses of Breathe On Me, Breath of God. The song

gives us an opportunity to ask God to help us follow the Lord in all ways.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,

Fill me with life anew

That I may love what Thou dost love

And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me,Breath of God,

Until my heart is pure,

Until with Thee I will one will

To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God.

Till I am wholly Thine

Until this earthly part of me

glows with Thy fire divine.

Lord, help us to answer Your call to proclaim You wherever that happens to be - far

away or right here at home.

Help us to be excited about telling others about You, but help us also to know when it is

time to rest. Help us to fit into Your spiritual rhythm of serving and getting refreshed,

over and over again.

Thank You. Amen.

No comments (Add your own)

Add a New Comment


code
 

Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.