When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. (Luke 8:35)
The story of Jesus healing the demon possessed man in the Gerasenes doesn’t immediately come to mind when thinking of the Easter story, yet this is a wonderful example of part of what Christ’s death and resurrection means for mankind.
As we picture the scene, it’s impossible not to feel a compassion for this man who the devil has so cruelly tormented. Not only was this a spiritual torment but his mind was deranged, he would have been exhausted with emotional pain and his body would have been injured, sick and weary. Every part of him was affected. What a terrible plight for a man who had been created for God’s purposes.
But the end of the story is not tragedy but rather an awesome display of Jesus’ power. He cast the ‘Legion’ of demons that was inhabiting the man into a whole herd of pigs, demonstrating to the people the magnitude of the force that was possessing this wretched man. He was also making it clear that one man is more valuable than many swine and that his desire was to heal this man’s mind, spirit, body and emotions. He was declaring his ability to make mankind whole... completely whole. This is just one part of what Easter means for humanity.
There is much more to being whole than just release from bondage. When we read of the angel Gabriel appearing to Joseph in a dream, he speaks about Mary saying:
"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
In Hebrew, the name ‘Jesus’ is ‘Yeshua’ which means ‘to save’ or ‘to rescue’. Sometimes Christians can concentrate on what Christ has saved us from; the fact that we are saved from the punishment of sin and that we are allowed to enter heaven after death. But friends, salvation is much more than this... much, much more! It’s also about what Christ has saved us ‘to’. It’s about restoring that relationship with the Godhead that was marred by the fall. It’s about entering into it in this life, now, today and not waiting until we are in heaven. We read:
‘Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.’ (John 17:3)
How much richer our lives would be, if we would avail ourselves of what the saving work of Christ has opened to us and make it a priority to daily deepen our relationship with God.
Rescue, deliverance, healing, redemption... and restoration. This is Easter’s treasure.
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