In Matthew 8:28-34 we see that Jesus has left the massive crowds thronging to get a touch of healing or deliverance, and he has left behind the people who say they will follow him but are not yet willing to pay the price of so doing. He told his disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side, and they went through a terrible life-threatening storm in which Jesus slept until He was woken up and dealt with it by a word. What was all this for? It seems that it was for just one man! And a demon-possessed one at that!
The Gadarene demoniac was in bad shape. The demons in him were giving him supernatural strength. The locals did not know how to deal with him. He was tormenting himself – or rather being tormented by these demonic entities.
Jesus left all the busy ministry at the leading of the Father to head off into this new region. You could say they had opposition along the way. But like everything Jesus did, this was at the leading of the Father. So now Jesus arrives and a demon-possessed man (or I should say heavily demonized man) comes out and starts having a go at Jesus.
A lot of us prefer to avoid such encounters, but the truth is we need to embrace them if we are going to break new regions open for the gospel. Before God can even use us in such encounters, we need to “live ready”. We probably need to live what is known as a “fasted lifestyle” in order to “live ready”. When the demoniac came to Jesus crying out, Jesus did not withdraw to pray so He had the power to deal with it. No, He dealt with it then and there.
A lot of us have been tolerating the kinds of indulgences in our lives which are common enough in the religious world but absolutely strip us of power at certain times. I’m talking about things like eating more than we need, just because it feels good, or talking more than we should, or about things that are not helpful. All these things cause the effective working of God’s power to diminish, and you can go on about how full of faith you are, but until I see the actual manifestations of the Kingdom in your life, and real results, I’ll take it all with a grain of salt. We need to be like Jesus, living ready, so that when we speak a word, something is going to happen.
Strategic Individuals are usually NOT the rich and famous
If you were planning a missions trip to a new area, who are you hoping to minister more than anyone? The local politicians? The wealthy people who could finance your mission further? Celebrities? Religious authorities? Jesus went for none of these people. His assignment was to one lonely tormented soul who had been shut out from society. In the spiritual realm, things work differently at times and contrary to “natural wisdom”. It is not that God does not want to save or work with wealthy, rich, noble or famous people – it is usually that He can’t – because they won’t submit their bodies and spirits consistently to God, because they can easily trust in their own resources and soulish skills. Paul said that “not many noble” are chosen for God’s purposes. Its normally the damaged people that have been trashed by the devil that God wants to pick up and transform for His glory. These are the people that become witnesses for the Lord.
So don’t be discouraged if you are not rich, famous, worldly-wise or tremendously good-looking. You could be a strategic person in God’s Kingdom purposes. And when you go out in mission, be led by the Spirit and not by natural considerations. Don’t just always go for the crowds. Go where God sends you.
If you feel you do know a lot, or that you have things together, I urge you to humble yourself a LOT also, so that perhaps God could pick you up and use you for things of ETERNAL value. God does not play favorites. What He is favoring though, is humility and meekness – and if you recall the Sermon on the Mount, these are the qualities of those who will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven AND the earth, respectively.
If you are a minister, don’t go only to rich people who you think might give you money. That is carnal and if you start living that way, you could end up in idolatry. Be a Jesus man. Go to the worst of demon-possessed people that God leads you to and see who Christ is in you. This is the challenge of the the hour as I write these words in 2013. There is a desperate shortage of people competent to cast out demons, even as demons are entering the church wholesale through corrupt compromising ministers and ungodly influences on television and the education system.
It is interesting if you follow the story that after this man got freed the locals begged Jesus to leave their region. So he only got to minister to one person that time. But guess what happened? You can follow the Scriptural accounts. Next time Jesus went to the Gadarene region, because of the witness of that one man, everyone came out seeking ministry from Jesus. And they had a great move of God. But it never would have happened if Jesus had not gone to that one individual.