The other day when I was waiting at the bus station, I saw a man in a very distressed state. He was unkempt, dirty and much underdressed for the weather, but none of these things particularly attracted my attention. It was actually his agitated state that did. As he walked among the people, he was muttering non-stop to himself and seemed oblivious to what was going on around him. People stared at him and some even moved out of his path, very unsure about this homeless man. As I watched him, I wondered about his story. What happened to this man to bring him to this desperate place? What was causing him such torment? I had seen him before but only through the corner of my eye. This time I really saw him – eye to eye, face to face, and my heart went out to him.
Today I was reading in the book of Mark about Jesus’ encounter with the Gerasene demoniac, and this man’s face came to mind again. I’m not saying that he was demonised like the man from Gerasene, but he certainly had no peace and was likewise an outcast in his society, just as the man mentioned in the biblical narrative was. Both men were in desperate need of an encounter with Jesus. I wonder, if Jesus had been physically walking through that bus station that day and had met that homeless man, how would he have interacted with him? Would He have commanded the evil spirits to leave him? Would He have reached out and touched him, speaking words of life into his hopelessness and despair? Would He have told him that his sins were forgiven, as he did with the paralytic? (Mark 2). I don’t know what Jesus would have done, but I do know that He would have done something. After all, didn’t He leave the majesty of heaven and die on a cruel Roman cross for the sake of such as these? Yes He did. Wasn’t Jesus resurrected so the power of death could be broken and this man could spend eternity in heaven? Yes He was.
I was overwhelmed by this man’s need, but Jesus wouldn’t have been. He wouldn’t have been helpless or hopeless when confronted with this man, because he is ‘God Almighty’ and NOT ‘god impotent’ (powerless, weak, ineffectual, ineffective.) He would have stopped. He would have cared. He would have bound up this man’s broken heart and set him free (Isaiah 61). Interestingly enough, Jesus commissioned you and me to do likewise. Not in our own might, nor in our own authority or power, but in His name and for the advancement of his kingdom.
Prayer: Father God, the needs around me seem insurmountable and overwhelming. Help me to remember that no broken life is outside of Your loving reach or beyond Your transforming power. Help me to have Your heart for such as these and to reach out to them in Your name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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