Have we ever been in such a horrible world?
I guess the answer is Yes. But it feels so intensified today.
Christians stoned, sawn in two, flogged, burnt, tortured, beheaded.
What other descriptions of death are there?!
Herod thought he had stopped John the Baptist by beheading him.
But he hadn’t counted for the Spirit. The Spirit within John was now at work within the disciples for the Son had given them power and authority.
Remove the body of Christ but there is no way you can remove the Spirit of Christ within that body.
Whatever Boko Haram, ISIS or any other evil group of people do today will not stop disciples advancing in our world because the Son is continually giving power and authority to them.
A waste of pork chops?
A group of demons equals a legion.
A group of pigs equals a herd.
Gerasa also known as Gadara was the capital of the Gerasenes. Though it was known as one of the proudest cities of Syria it is now called Jerash and is a deserted ruin. Remove the body of Christ from a place and not long later it will become a ruin, v37
Jesus gave the legion permission to enter the pigs because the disarming of all demonic power to take place on the cross was not ready yet.
The people didn’t mind that this man had legion.
Nor did they mind the pig farmers possessing a herd. (Pigs are an abomination to the Jews).
But when the body of Christ moves in the supernatural and turns the tables on evil making wrong things right, then the towns will sit up and their response may not be what we expect.
Jesus cast legion out of the man and the town cast Jesus out of their vicinity.
Leave our town not because you are boring, ineffective, dwindling, non-relevant to our generation. No.
Leave the town because this supernatural activity is too much for us.
This is a sleepy town. We need a sleepy Church.
Let’s stop giving what our towns want and give them what they need.
Some Churches leave a town because they fall asleep.
Other Churches leave a town because they wake everyone up.
Social outcasts are often better lovers of God.
A woman, a sinner, publicly known for her shameful ways is at the feet of Jesus.
Simon, the Pharisee, religious, lover of God, publicly known for not being a sinner.
Which one loves God the most? Simon or the woman?
Who is the greatest sinner? Simon or the woman?
Jesus turned towards the woman and spoke to Simon. I love this.
Jesus is forcing Simon to look at the woman and to see what Jesus sees.
Simon hadn’t been looking at a person but an object.
Man has always looked at women as objects.
Simon has no kind words for the woman.
What Simon misses is that the brokenness of her life has brought about a greater expression of love for Jesus than he could ever muster.
v44-46 You did not but she did …. You did not but she did … You did not but she did.
The greatest sinners are therefore perhaps those whose eyes will not weep and whose lips will not kiss and whose knees will not bend in surrender and love to Jesus.
(v12) There’s a place to meet with God. It’s a place higher than that of man. To ascend this hill is to understand his ways and thoughts are not man’s.
There is always the temptation not to find solitude with God. The pull of man does not want us to ascend.
(v17) There’s a place to meet with man. It’s a place on their level. We need to come down into their culture, their thinking, alongside, in the dirt, amongst their disease, to feel their trouble, to experience their touch.
There is always the temptation to approach man from a higher place, to look down on them. The pull of our own blessing will not want us to descend.
Some people get the 2 places mixed up. Some ascend to worship their hero and heroine. Some descend and view their God as a mate and lose the awe and wonder.
Let’s keep the 2 places separate and in the right way.
Luke 5: 1-11
Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John had heard the call to accept Jesus as their Messiah (John 1:35-51). They had heard the call to follow for a little while (Matthew 4 and Mark 1).
But on this day they were at a distance from Jesus, washing their fishing nets.
In contrast there is a crowd of people around Jesus. The Greek word for crowd is epikeimai which means press around, press upon, be urgent.
There is the passion of the people and the distance of the disciples.
Which are you today?
Simon wished he had a bigger boat that day! Whatever the size of the boat it would have sunk under the weight of the miracle. Miracles are to be shared. They are not just for one boat but for many boats. Your miracle is not your miracle, it’s for everyone.
Is it all about one boat, your boat, or do you desire the miracle to be shared amongst many boats?
They heard a call: “From now on you will catch men.” The Greek word is zogmeo which means to capture alive, to spare life. The men had caught fish to kill them but now they would catch men to free them.
Are you killing people or freeing them today?
Gods ways are not your ways. Don’t be so sure about God’s response to situations. You may be wrong.
Isaiah 61 which Jesus read was a text of judgment, passed down generationally, steeped in their culture. Yet the revelation of the Messiah turned it upside down into a text of mercy.
Mercy offends when you are banking on judgment. They knew what Jesus was aiming at and they wanted rid of such mercy.
Be open-minded. Think less of yourself. Do not let your Christian community become a narrow minded cliquish community.
They thought the Messianic age would be a great moment for them. It would be all about them. Jesus shifts the text from, “Here is what you will receive,” to “Here is what you are expected to give.”
Before you met Christ it was all about you. But now it is never about you, it is always about others.
Jesus made it possible for us to change our identity.
Your life does not have to stay this way.
Whilst man was changing their identity by being plunged into the identity of God, Jesus changed his identity by being plunged into the identity of man.
How to get through confusion.
There are times when it looks like evil dictators are in control, v1
There are times when it looks like compliance is in control, v3
There are times when your historical background is in control, v4
There are times when inconvenient circumstances are in control, v5-6
There are times when it feels like rejection is in control, v7
But through it all remember 7 key messages:
Do not be afraid v10
A Saviour is here for you, v11
Give glory to God, v14
Search for Him and you will find Him, v16
Offer your sacrifice, v24
Fill your life with praise, prophecy and worship, v28, 36, 38
Some things you will not understand right away, v50
God uses ordinary people like you and me….
Ordinary people who will say Let it be, v38
It is a prayer of adjustment: I will adjust to what you want for my life God.
It is a prayer of conception: I am here, my mind understands, my heart receives, my body is ready, use me.
It is a prayer of faith: let it be. Amen. It is so. I agree. It is done.
Not one of us has experienced it for ourselves, but no one doubts it. All of us have been effected by it, some have come close to it, some are very afraid of it, death casts a shadow over our lives.
Jesus lifts the fear of death.
I am the resurrection.
Most people of faith or no faith carry a cry in their heart that says, “There must be more than this.”
There must be more than the suffering I am going through.
There must be more than an allotted amount of years on this earth.
There must be more than being born, being alive, being dead and put in the ground.
We must be made for something else, somewhere else.
The majority carry a sense of eternity in their hearts.
Thee is another place.
It is because Jesus is the resurrection.