“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10, NKJV)
Everything changed when Jesus came. His life defined change which has continued to this very day; not merely in terms of His historical significance – there is that. I’m referring to His impact on each person he met. I believe Christmas is a great time to look at Jesus, because Christmas is where it all began.
His birth was foretold over 400 times in the Old Testament. His birth drew the attention of kings and wise men. People of all walks of life were invited to witness His birth. Entire religions were born and shaken because of Him. Every religious ideal was tested or challenged by His willingness simply to show compassion to people.
The lowest of the lowly were never out of His reach, or ability to change. One such man; a man who had spent years living in a graveyard, wailing throughout the night in agony, cutting himself with jagged rocks because of his demonic possession. Mark 5 & Luke 8 tell the story. Clearly in control of the man, upon seeing Jesus, the demon cried out, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” (Mark 5:7, NKJV)
Jesus came to set people like this free. Jesus came to set us free from whatever sort of chains we find ourselves bound with. So often, rather than trying to help people with serious issues, we figure they are too far gone; beyond all hope. The man had been chained, to keep him from hurting anyone, but he would snap the chains, and yet never seem to find the freedom he desired. Maybe you feel this way too. Maybe you have a pressing situation; an overwhelming set of circumstances which never seems to change or get any better. Jesus came for you, too.
Jesus commanded the demon to leave the man and he was set free that very day. That didn’t mean everyone around him understood. “Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.” (Mark 5:15, NKJV). For the first time in recent memory, the man wasn’t screaming, cutting himself or acting like a wild animal. He was calm, sitting and talking with Jesus. That, my friend, is impact!
The man was overwhelmed. He begged Jesus to allow him to travel with him, but Jesus instead said, “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, NKJV)
Maybe your life isn’t nearly as bad as his. I think if he could tell his story today, he might say, “If Jesus could change my life, He can change yours.” Some theologians believe the man went on to become the pastor of the Church at Decapolis. Remember, you are never too far gone for Jesus to bring life to.
Rob Granger and his wife, Becky, serve as Executive Pastors of Grace Church San Marcos under Senior Pastors Brian and Melissa Bauer. Located at 855 E. Barham Drive, San Marcos, Grace San Marcos meets at 10 a.m. Sundays and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays with meetings for youth, children and other groups scheduled throughout the week. Visit www.gracesanmarcos.net for further information.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.