From Misery to Joy

And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him.  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.”  And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.  Mark 5:18-20

And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”  However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.  Mark 1:43-45

These two scenarios give me the same feeling.  A feeling of joy.

At first glance they are different – opposites, in fact.  In chapter one Jesus tells the guy not to tell anyone about being healed, but he does it anyway.  In chapter five Jesus tells the guy to go tell his friends that he has been healed and he does.

You could look at this as examples of obedience vs. disobedience, but I just don’t see it that way.  I like to see both passages as examples of the excitement and joy Jesus can give us.

These two men had horrible problems.  One wasn’t even in control of his own body.  He ran around naked in the graveyard and scared everyone away.  They had tried to constain him, but he was too strong for them.  He just broke all their bindings.  It was like the human police trying to contain the Incredible Hulk.  They would throw some ropes on him or catch him in a steal container, but the next thing you know – “Hulk smash!!” and off he would run, smashing cars and houses along the way.  Only he had on ragged shorts to protect our modesty.

The other guy had a nasty disease that ate away at his flesh until, eventually, he would literally fall apart and die.  Painful and gross – he was miserable.  But on top of that, if he went out in public he had to completely cover his sickly, flakey, gross body and yell loudly to everyone around him, “Unclean! Unclean!” over and over.  Painful, gross, and embarrassing.  What a horrible life!

I hope with these descriptions you can see why they were so excited after meeting Jesus – so excited they felt the need to shout and run (maybe dance) and tell everyone they met about how they had been healed and by whom.

If any of these things had happened to us, I don’t think we could shut-up about it.  The thing is, these things have happened to us.  If not, they can.

Maybe we have never been possessed by a legion of demons or even one demon; maybe we have never had incurable (at the time) leprosy; but we all have our own demons and our own diseases.

Our demons and diseases haunt us just as badly as the ones of those two men in the book of Mark.  But Jesus can take them away.  He can heal our diseases.  He can cast out our demons.  All you have to do is ask.

Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”  Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”  As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.    Mark 1:40-42

The leper believed and asked.  Jesus did.

Jesus felt compassion.  In fact, Jesus even touched the man’s gross, nasty skin!  No one in the entire world would have ever done that!  EVER.  Jesus is the only one who can truly heal us.

Do you want to be healed? Jesus wants to heal you – he says “I am willing.”  He invites you to receive that healing through believing He is the Son of God who died for your sins.  Repent of your sin and turn to Him and you will receive new life in Him, complete with a new whole heart.

He has invited, will you believe and receive Him? He waits for your answer.