Banishment and Invitation (Mark 5)

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In today’s reading we see Jesus perform three miracles and receive two different reactions. As you remember from Mark 4, Jesus traveled across the Sea of Galilee. After calming the storm, Jesus and the disciples landed safely on the other side in an area called Gerasenes. Once there, Jesus encountered a man possessed by many demons. He exorcised them into a herd of pigs, causing them to drown themselves in the Sea. Upon seeing this the town officials were brought out by the people, and they requested that Jesus leave and never return.

So when Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee again, we was met by a crowd on the other side. Within this crowed was a man whose daughter was dying. Jesus agreed to help and while they were traveling to the man’s house they met a woman. She was suffering from a blood disease and desperately needed healing. She touched Jesus from within the crowd, and Jesus stopped everything to find the woman who touched him. Afterwards, they continued to the man’s house to find that his daughter had died. But Jesus walked into the house and said “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.” (5:39 NASB) The girl then woke up and Jesus requested they give her something to eat.

I feel that both stories in this chapter illustrate a single point; how we react to God is important! Jesus says in a later chapter, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,…” (Mark 10:45 NASB), so while on earth that was the focus of Jesus’ ministry. Both groups of people had an opportunity to react to him. One group decided to send him away, and the other accepted him. This leads me to say that however we receive God is very important.

We live in a world filled with a “Less of You, More of Me” mentality when it comes to our view on God. I don’t think that this is anywhere near the best decision. The people of Gerasenes sent Jesus away. He heals one man, and is told to go away! Jesus never comes back to this place. Yes, they do receive the benefits of salvation, but Jesus could have done so much more for them. So this is what is wrong with “Less of You, More of Me”. God could do so much more for us, the only thing He asks is for our faith in Him. When we give Him less, He gives us less.

On the other hand, the other group of people took Jesus in with open arms! Jesus performs two miracles in this chapter here, but I’m sure he did much more since he was welcomed there.

So I encourage you today to realize where you are short-changing God. Instead of a “Less of You” approach, why don’t we try “More of You, Less of me”. In all honesty, creation was made by and for God, not us. So we should be seeking more of God!

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