However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” Mark 5:19
When God has compassion on someone (as He does on everyone!) it is an example of His divine grace, giving us something that we do not deserve nor could we ever earn it in any way. It is the Lord showing pity and having mercy just because of His love for mankind.
In some instances, it may seem natural that God would be compassionate. If a person is truly seeking to follow the Lord and doing everything in their power to please Him, you would think that they are much more likely to experience God’s compassion than someone who has shown no signs of ever even thinking of the Lord much less following Him. Of course, this is based on our imperfect perception of goodness and worthiness. When compared to God’s perfect nature, no one even comes close to being worthy of His love.
That brings us to our verse for today. On the way by boat over to the country of the Gadarenes, they had experienced such a storm that the disciples thought they would be capsized and all drown. But Jesus was asleep in the boat. Once the disciples woke Him up, He calmed the sea and all was well. All, that is, until they reached their destination.
Immediately upon making landfall, they encountered someone who seemed to be beyond hope of redemption if ever there was such a person. Oh, you may know one or two you feel qualify or possibly, knowing your past failures and weaknesses even think of yourself like that on occasion, but this was the real deal.
This man was so full of demons he could not even be held by chains. He lived among the tombs and had been bound many times only to break the chains and shackles. He was constantly hurting himself and seemed to be on a path of both destruction and self-destruction. Out of all the places Jesus could have gone and all of the people He could have ministered to, here He is face to face with this man.
Remember, Jesus did everything on purpose and for a purpose. He knew what, and who, He would encounter at the end of that boat ride. He knew the storm that would lead to that encounter. Still, He made the journey. And, He was so confident in the Father’s plan, He was napping on the way over there! What an example of God’s compassion, of God’s love and longsuffering.
Jesus knows you better than you know yourself and yet He loves you more than you could ever know. He is willing to travel through storms (and there have probably been a few storms of life along the way thus far!) to get to where you are. And why would He want to make that journey in the first place? To find you and to help you and to deliver you.
Just like that man that Jesus encountered after His trip through the storm, He is looking for you. But not to condemn you for the past. He shows up to show His compassion — on you!
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