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[Encounters With God] Grace and the Wretch

(To listen to the podcast of this talk please click here)

Encounters With God

God’s Grace and the Wretch

We’re looking at the gospel accounts of Jesus meeting people.  We’re going to stand in these people’s shoes and think about their encounter with Jesus and ask what it can teach us about the things that might make it difficult for us to draw close to God.

Today Dave looked at the story of the demon possessed guy in Mark 5.  He looked the whole story in Mark 4:35-5:20.

This story encapsulates the whole good news of what God has done for us.  It shows how we are valued and our purpose

VALUE

The guy in the tombs is perhaps the most wretched person in the whole Bible.

We see his worth to the world – his village community want him out of sight, left in the tombs, bound up in the hope he will starve to death.  When he is set free from his oppression, instead of celebrating they are upset about the loss of the herd of pigs.

But when we consider his worth to God… we see God is:

  • The God who pursues
    • It seems there was no reason for Jesus to cross the lake except to meet this one man.  Jesus derails his schedule and takes a boat just to pursue this one wretched man
  • The God who is confident
    • When the storm blows up and the disciples get fearful, Jesus is sleeping soundly.  God is not wringing his hands over our situations or problems.  He knows he can’t lose… as it says in 1 Corinthians 13:8, “Love never fails.”
  • The God who battles for us
    • Jesus battles a demonic storm (in Dave’s opinion), casts out a crowd of demons and takes on the criticism and disapproval of the village… all for this one wretched guy

PURPOSE

In John 10:10 it says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

When the demons go to the pigs we see they are able to exercise their will in a creature not made in the image of God – they rush into the lake to drown their hosts.  This is the enemy’s purpose for us, to steal, kill and destroy the life God has for us.  We see it in the attitude of the villagers, casting the guy out to the cursed tombs.  We see it in the man’s condition as he is afflicted by the demons, howling with anguish and cutting himself with stones

But God’s purpose is so much more

  • First the man is set free
    • This is total grace – he does nothing to deserve this.  In fact, he is completely unworthy.  Yet Jesus heals him
  • But it doesn’t end here… Jesus sends him off as the first Christian missionary
    •  It’s not just to be free, but to live a life of purpose and meaning
    • This is the abundant life that Jesus says he gives us in John 10:10

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER

  • How much do you believe in grace?  Do you really believe God’s goodness has nothing to do with your worth?
    • When you do something you’re ashamed of, how easy is it to turn to God?  Do you feel you need time to make yourself somewhat more acceptable before you can go back to God?
  • How much do you extend God’s grace to others?  Where are you judging and criticising?  Where do we (secretly) celebrate other people’s struggles?
  • Do you feel your life has meaning and purpose?
    • If not, what can you do to find out what God might have for you in this season?

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Posted on 31st March 2019
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