“Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you” Mark 5:19.
The man who had the legion of demons has one desire: be with Jesus. Can you blame him? Prior to Jesus his life had quite literally been a living hell. In one weird and crazy miracle, Jesus sets the demoniac free and reveals the bondage to greed of the swineherds. Witnesses beg Jesus to get out. The freed man wants to go wherever Jesus goes. One miracle; two responses.
All of Jesus’ miracles seem to have this paradoxical outcome. Nearly every account of a miracle records that two groups of people joined the after party: the rejoicers and the rejecters.
And then there’s Jesus. Always with an eye for maximum impact. Not in a spammy, self-promotion kind of way. No Jesus goes for the mustard seed strategy. the one that grows strong through the tenderness of restored love.
Jesus could have let the former site of Legion become a disciple, following him from town to town. That would be quite a show. “Step right up! See the one and only…” But this isn’t a circus. Jesus knows his miracles are for real people with reals lives needing real loves that have broken and bent restored.
So Jesus sends him home. Home to where his story began, no doubt. Imagine the friends and family that knew him before Legion made him known. How they must have wrung their hands and drained out their hearts over what to do about their friend. How many sleepless nights were spent worried about their tomb sleeper? Legion had made this man unlovable; Jesus sends him back to be both loved and lover. The scriptures don’t tell us how many more miracles happened in this man’s hometown when loved ones could hug him again. How much hope was born that day? Legions, I suspect.
I think it’s always that way with Jesus. The miracles are always shared, magnified. Little mustard seeds, told as stories of mercy and wonders shared in the company of the loved and loving. Jesus’ strategy for maximum impact is love.
Is it mine? Yours?
I’m joining Margaret for the #LentChallenge of reading the New Testament in forty days. Today’s reading is Mark 1-5. Join us!