Delivered, Healed, and Sent
Today’s reading: Numbers 8-10; Mark 5:1-20
18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. Mark 5:18
35 And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, “Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.” 36 And when it rested, he said, “Return, O Lord, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel.” Numbers 10:35-36
Three times the man called Legion begged Jesus for something. First, he “adjured” Jesus not to torment him. Second, he (or the demons) begged not to be sent out of the country but into a herd of pigs. Third, after being delivered from the demonic possession, he begged Jesus to allow him to be with Him. Jesus granted his first two requests, but not the third one.
What is the attitude of the man who begged these things from Jesus?
Fear of torment. Legion recognized who Jesus was, and, because of his spiritual state, being possessed by an unclean spirit, was keenly aware of his guilt before the “Son of the Most High God.” He could only beg not to be tormented because that was what he deserved.
Dread of destruction. Legion begged for mercy on behalf of the demons. Apparently, Jesus had power to send them “out of the country,” which I suspect is a reference to sending them to hell. The demons entered the pigs. The pigs drowned. Legion was delivered.
Desire to be with Jesus. After being delivered, the now-healed man wanted to continue with Jesus. Perhaps as a foreshadowing of what would occur after Jesus’ ascension and after the Holy Spirit empowered disciples began dispersing throughout the known world, the Lord sent him back to other Gentiles to tell them what he had received from God.
So the man obeyed and went among his friends proclaiming what Jesus had done for him. The response? Everyone marveled. God was glorified.
In our Numbers reading, God was also glorified through the Israelites as He guided them on their journey to the Promised Land. Not unlike Legion, God delivered His people from slavery in Egypt, and then led them to their own land and freedom to serve Him.
The pattern is clear and repeated. God delivers enslaved sinners, heals them, and, then, sends them to be His witnesses to other enslaved sinners. Deliverance, healing, mission.
Has this been your story, too, in some way?