It is so good!
Friday, November 12, 2010
It is so good!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Some chains are visible. As for a two-year-old Lao Lu, he is regularly padlocked to a tree while his rickshaw driver father touts for customers in Beijing. Chen insists chaining up son Lao Lu is for his own good.
They reported his father to the authorities, who yesterday ordered him to remove the chain although it was not clear what arrangements he would make in future. There is no nursery place for Lao Lu because his 42-year-old father is a migrant worker from another province, Szechuan, and therefore does not qualify for state help. The family lives in a one room, 9ft by 8ft apartment.
Chen said he could not afford to pay for childcare on his earnings of £4.50 ($7.25 or ¥586) a day and had refused offers of ‘a lot of money’ to give his son up for adoption.
‘My wife cannot take care of him (for she was sickly) and I have to work to support my family. So I chain him to a pole when I have a fare.'
His older daughter was stolen from them and was never seen of again.
‘I don’t even have a picture of my daughter to use for a missing-person poster. I cannot lose my son as well.’
A short time later, some one donated money enough to send the little boy to day care.
Here we have Jesus on the move again after that great experience on the Sea with the Storms of Life (as we looked at last week). You will remember that He has the AUTHORITY to calm the storms we are going through and He has the AUTHORITY to walk us through those same Storms of Life.
Here is the story as is found in Mark 5:1~20.
Jesus gets off the boat and WHAM!; He is introduced to a man with an interesting past. He is way too strong for any chains or ropes as he had broken them and made life difficult for those around the area. So much so, they have left him alone in the graveyard.
The man comes FROM the tombs to meet Jesus. That was his home. He lived there among the dead. Today, in that region, there is evidence of tombs cut into the hillside. Real estate agents would say that the best place is Location, Location, Location. This was not a very nice location.
In reading verse six, we can see that this man could see Jesus from a distance and ran to Him and fell on his knees in front of Him. He knew who Jesus was. He KNEW what kind of Power He had.
Verse 8. For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
Listen to his plea! He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”
Jesus asks him his name. “Identify yourself.”
“My name is legion, for WE are many.”
What is a legion? During that time in history, Rome had an army. In that army, the Emperor had many soldiers at his command: about 153,600 total in his fighting force. One unity of that army was a legion. This is what it looked like.
The legions were broken into three groups. The main fighting force of men were the light infantry made up of poor men who had to buy their own equipment. They were poorly trained and lived and died a very hard life. Light infantry was made up of men who were used as scouts and were, in terms of need, expendable.
The second group was Cavalry made up of 300 horsemen who were from richer homes. They were given spears, a short sword, helmet and shield. They were broken up into groups of 30 men.
The third group was the heavy infantry, which were the principle fighting force. They carried heavy long javelins with a killing range of 30 meters, a short sword for close combat, a shield and a metal helmet.
During this time of the Republic, the legion was about 4,500 to 5,200 men. At a battle in 9AD, at The Battle of Teutoburg Forest (now a forest but not then), three legions, three cavalry units and six auxiliary regiments—some 25,000 men—were wiped out…in one battle!
So, here we have a man whose name is Legion, “for we are many.” It is possible he could have as many as eight to ten demons in him OR he could have 4 to 5,000 in him. No wonder he could break any chains that held him down. He was more than a multi-personality individual. He was possessed by MANY demons that controlled him.
He had cut himself with stones. It is common for people who were abused to cut themselves. It helps them cope with their inner emotional pain and gain some feeling of control over their own life. This man was not only a person who inflicted pain on others, he, himself had inflicted pain on his own person. And he was in Bondage. And it terrified him. He had lived with this bondage for such a long time, yet he did not want to be freed from it. He liked the surroundings. He wanted to stay in that area. It pleased him. Why? Good question. I have no idea at all, except that he was in darkness and in dread and he shared that with the graves.
This bondage held him from life. These chains of the evil one kept him from experiencing anything good in his walk. He lost his family. The city people feared him. Verse 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him.
What are things that hold us? What are our chains? If we can identify them, as Jesus did, we too can be set free.
In verse 9, this man told us his name and his chains. “I am legion. I am many.” What holds us? Tradition; heritage; biases; pride; past experiences that have hurt us; past experiences when we hurt others; our memory; things that were blamed on us that in truth we were innocent of; fear; doubt; real and imagined guilt; so many things that can both hurt us more and things that prevent us from growing in our freedom in Jesus Christ.
We had done something that was wrong in our past. This memory has kept us from being free. It is a bondage. It holds us and hurts our feelings of being clean. We need to identify these ‘things’, these hurts, and name them. Once they are identified, they can be honestly looked at as for what they really are. All of them are ‘things’ that Jesus died for. He wants to set us free from them.
So here we have this man “Legion” who is begging Jesus not to be sent out of that area. Why again? This was not a kosher area. There were pigs in vast numbers here. In fact, a large herd of pigs was feeding in a nearby hillside. Read again what happened.
12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
That was quite a sight to behold! WILD PIGS running down the steep hillside toward the bank and screaming! Falling into the lake and drowning! Have you ever heard pigs going crazy? SUUIE!
This caused quite a stir. Those who were tending the pigs freaked out. They ran into the town and reported what had just happened to the city and told everyone! Imagine this! Not much ever happened in that town so ALL the people went out to see what was going on. There was no instant reply, but they came anyway. They came to Jesus. And they saw next to Jesus THE man in question but in his right mind. And their response? They were afraid!
They could deal with a Demonic person but a Holy Man, no way! They pleaded with Him to leave. Get out of town! Leave, not only the town but also our region! We don’t want Your kind here! They saw His Power and Authority and they wanted nothing of this Man. Leave us alone! We are going to live our lives—pork-less—in our darkness. They too had chains that bonded them as well. Unbelief.
And here is the former wild man, sitting, clean, dressed and in his right mind, at the feet of Jesus. And why not? Such a man has been claimed from the grip of Satan and is now a new creation. All his sins were gone and everything had become new!
In verse 18, Jesus does leave the region. He gets into the boat and the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with Him. Jesus said no to him. It was a very honest request. A most natural request but Jesus says no. Listen to the tender instructions He gives the man: verse 19
“Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.”
THAT is the Gospel after all. Telling others what the Lord has done in your life. Tell of His Grace on your life. Sharing that with your own people! The Gospel!
So the man does what the Lord suggested him do. He told what the Lord had done in his life. He went to the ten cities of the Decapolis and began to tell how much Jesus had done for him. In this area, later Jesus meets and heals a deaf man. He also heals the daughter of a Gentile woman from this very region. Jesus’ teaching and fame went before him! This resulted in people being amazed.
Men today marveled at the teachings of Jesus, but few followed Him. Many who cannot but wonder at what Christ can and does do in the lives of so many. Yet these same people do not, as they ought, wonder after Him. Few believe. They are caught in the chains of unbelief.
They knew this man. They knew he had had a problem. A man with a past. A man with a burden who had been touched by the Authority of Jesus and was set free. He was the reason why Jesus came over the sea in the storm.
ISN’T THIS MAN MUCH LIKE YOU? I mean it. Aren’t there likenesses in our lives with his? What has you tied up in chains that will not let you be free? What holds you back from following the One who came for your soul? To give you life? Who among you would deny that you have such a condition? We all need to come to Him. Sit at His feet. Hear His message of Saving Faith and take that message to our own people. To tell them how much the Lord has done for us and how He has had mercy on us. To the Glory of the Lord, Amen.