Luke 8: 26 – 39
Men Made New
I was on-call at Kisiizi early one Sunday morning when the watchman banged his spear on our bedroom window to summon me to a man who had been carried unconscious all night across the hills. The team of men from the village who had taken turns carrying the ‘helicopter’ (a stretcher carried by four men on their heads) now stood peering through the ward windows to see what would happen.
We took him into our Treatment room and guessed he might be hypoglycaemic from alcohol the previous evening. After a bolus of IV glucose he started to surface and a couple of minutes later was able to walk back into the ward. I wish I had had a camera to record the looks of astonishment on the faces of those who had laboured so hard to carry him. In fact some began to assume he had been acting and had to be reassured that he had indeed been unwell. It was a dramatic transformation from helplessness to wholeness.
As we read of many of the encounters of Jesus with a whole cross-section of society, we repeatedly see those around Him staring in amazement at the transformation He produced, at ‘men made new’.
Who, for example, was the first missionary? A devoted follower? A chosen disciple? No, a madman among tombs (See Mark 5: 1 - 20 and then the version in Luke 8: 26 - 39).
The local people did not know how to handle this madman - he broke free from chains and roamed wild, distressed, flailing, screaming and naked in a cemetery.
‘Absolutely no good to anyone’, they probably said, yet Jesus pilots the boat to land near him. Imagine the reaction of the disciples - gawping, maybe cowering in boat, horrified… and then their open-mouthed astonishment as the power and compassion of the Saviour transform and restore this precious child of God. He was indeed hopeless until the voice of Jesus was heard then life was never the same again.
It was an explosive encounter - we see the confidence of Jesus, we catch a glimpse of unseen warfare: ‘you evil spirits come out!’ Jesus wants this man back. The demons retreat powerless, the disciples stand back and watch the Father fight. And rising from the ashes is the new man, calm and in his right mind, and now given a purpose, a Commission, to share the Good News of this Saviour.
So the man went away and told all over the town how much Jesus had done for him (Luke 8: 39b)
Prayer and Action
Spend some time praying for those you’ve met and for those who you will meet today asking God to produce new life in their hearts.