Each week throughout the ReMarkAble series at First Baptist Church, we will have a guest post from various pastors, church planters, missionaries, professors, bloggers, etc. I will always post them on Tuesdays. This week, Brett Moser has provided his reflections on Mark's fifth chapter.
Brett is the Lead/Preaching Pastor/Elder at River City Church in Fargo, ND. River City is a church plant that has now entered its fifth year. Brett leads River City in the area of preaching and teaching. He is passionate about setting the pace for the mission and vision of River City, keeping River City's attention toward reaching people that are in need of Jesus and the unbelievable grace offered in His gift of salvation. Brett helps give leadership to Porterbrook Fargo, River City’s church-based theological training for leadership development. Brett is married to Shannon and they have 4 girls, Aunika, Alayna, Autumn, and Annabelle.
The Identity of Jesus: All Powerful
Power is an idea that grabs the attention of humanity. It’s an adjective that shows up more often than we might think. There is lifting weight that is comparable to lifting a small car (power-lifting), walking with an extra bit of gusto (power-walking), rangers that I watched do some rad stuff as a kid (power rangers), and lottery gaming known as powerball. Additionally, motor-heads are concerned with horsepower. New homeowners often are in need of a power tool. The world of physics defines power scientifically as the rate at which a certain amount of work is done.
We are quick to identify the lack of power when we don’t have it, but fail often to understand the effect it can have when we possess a limited amount of it. The reality is fallen humanity has a lack of power due to our sin. In other words, as a result of sin, brokenness, and separation from God, left to ourselves, we are powerless. In our fallen condition, left to ourselves we are unable to heal, unable to change people, unable to make sense of trials, unable to fix situations, unable to calm storms, and unable to find rest and comfort. We are a powerless people.
Mark chapter 5 communicates Jesus as the all powerful one that we are not, in a pretty potent way.
“Jesus, perceiving that power had gone out from him.......” Mark 5:30a
The greek word used here for power is dynamis which means ‘the exertion of force in performing some function’. Three narratives comprise this chapter: The healing of a demon-possessed man; the healing of a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years; and the resurrection of a little girl from the dead. In this chapter we see a wave of force that proceeds from the Lord Jesus that performs the function of healing that leads to transformation. Specifically in one healing (we can make the case), that this healing leads to mission. The demonstration of power in healing that Jesus displays, is a means to an end. In other words, Jesus healing people is about more than the actual healing. There is more that we are to see, hear, know, and respond to.
What does the power of Jesus accomplish?
The power of the Lord Jesus has no limits. Just observe the diversity of situations of people that are impacted here in Mark chapter 5.
Men and Women
A woman suffering a chronic 12 year condition, and a 12 year old girl. One who was an outcast in society and one who grew up with a prestigious, respected man (Jairus) as her father.
Older and younger people
All three making their requests in a different way. The man with the unclean spirit (identifies Jesus as the Son of the most high God and requests that he not be tormented), the woman makes her request without a word (but just a touch), and Jairus makes a submissive request for help
What the power of Jesus accomplishes is that it reclaims these people. The power of Jesus: Brings a man back to his right mind; brings a woman back to community; and brings a little girl back to life.
Propelled to mission
In Mark 5: 1-20 we read of this man with an unclean spirit living in Gentile territory (the country of the Gerasenes). A man living among the tombs (the dead). A man unable to be bound, even with chains as he broke the chains apart. A man that had been cut off from community. A man that day and night is always crying out and cutting himself. There is a level of self-inflicted abuse that this man is participating in. This is hardly a man that you could see any ministry potential in.
Jesus demonstrates His power in declaring the unclean spirit to come out of the man and then tosses these unclean spirits (a legion of them - that’s a lot by the way, 5,600 give or take) into 2,000 pigs, who then run over a steep cliff and drowned in the sea. A lot of bacon gone.
What I find most fascinating and instructive here is what happens post healing. “As he (Jesus) was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.” Mark 5:17
The phrase ‘be with him’ is the same phrase that is used of the twelves apostles previously in Mark’s gospel. “And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach.” Mark 3:14
In other words, what the transformed man is saying here is “I want to be your disciple Jesus! I want to be with you” What happens next is what is so compelling.
“And he did not permit him but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’” Mark 5:19
This is incredible! Jesus denies this request, at least the formal request.
We observe that Jesus has a mission for this man. What’s the mission, what’s the directive that Jesus gives this man? Stay here and tell people of what the Lord has done and how you’ve been shown mercy. Be my witness here, right now! You have a story to tell. Tell your story! Tell what has happened to you! Go give your testimony
Tell how the Lord has had mercy on you.
Have we forgotten what the Lord’s mercy is to us?
What did this man deserve? He deserved separation from God as enemies of God had overtaken him. He is a threat to himself and to others. He deserves no community. However, the Lord shows him mercy and with-holds punishment and torment, and says go home, go be with your friends and family.
What is the punishment that we all deserve? Death, damnation, eternal separation, chained with no freedom from our sin, suffocating under the weight of our sin. That’s what we deserve. And Jesus demonstrates, in his power, through his work on the cross and by the power of the resurrection that the one of all power will take the punishment, and in turn with-hold punishment, showing us mercy.
Be reminded today of God’s merciful work, by the power of the Lord Jesus on your behalf. Then tell that story! Proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into the marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). I’m reminded of these words from Gloria Furman:
"Being delivered from Satan, sin, and death is anything but average or boring. Having your sins forgiven and being redeemed and made alive is mind-boggling. The idea that anyone’s testimony of blood-bought salvation could be uninteresting or unspectacular is a defamation of the work of Christ (Glimpses of Grace, pg. 61)."
May the powerful work of Jesus propel you to mission, to share the story of what the Lord has done, showing mercy to a powerless one.