“They came to the other side of the sea, to the region of the Gerasenes. As soon as he got out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Often today the Christian life appears as something rather mundane and boring. You do all the normal things you might otherwise do, you just do them a little nicer than everyone else. Or, worse yet, you don’t get to do many of the “fun” things the people around you get to do. You just sit around and pray or read your Bible all the time. Who really wants to be a part of that? Well, no one…if that’s really what the Christian life is supposed to be. What we see here is a reminder that following Jesus is an altogether more adventurous affair.
Now, seeing following Jesus as an adventurous affair really shouldn’t be very difficult here given that the disciples just witnessed Jesus’ commanding the winds and waves. But just for the sake of argument, let’s say the disciples were bored with it. Here they are going with Jesus to yet another location where He’s probably going to do the same thing He always does: gather a crowd and preach the same message they’ve heard Him preach over and over and over again. BOR-ING!
We are sometimes tempted to feel something similar. After all, in our own lives as followers of Jesus, our normal routines may not bring us into contact with very many things that are not just part of our routine. We get up, get everyone ready to get off to the day’s activities, go to the day’s activities, come home from the day’s activities, go through the normal evening activities, go to bed, and prepare to start over the next day. And twice a week we go to church. How is that any different from what anyone else does? I mean, maybe we add some Bible reading or prayer, but if you think in those terms that blasé characterization of the Christian faith we talked about a second ago is true.
How is this supposed to be something worth anyone’s time? How is this supposed to appeal to someone who didn’t merely grow up with this routine and so it’s comfortable enough to them they never really leave it? How is following Jesus not just boring?
Because you never know what’s coming just around the corner.
Jesus and His followers got out of their boats after a wild night in the midst of this Gentile region and were greeted immediately by a demon-possessed man. This was like something out a horror film. The man sees them coming, runs out of the tombs were he was dwelling, and starts yelling at them. He was clothed in tattered rags and had cuts all over his body. Jesus asks him his name and he responds with, “I am Legion because we are many.” He probably had some multi-toned scary-sounding voice when he said it too. We’ll spend some more time next week on this man himself, but is that enough adventure for you?
Okay, fine, but that’s never happened to me. I get up and go to work everyday and never encounter any demon-possessed people running around in tattered rags with scary voices. No, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t still living every day in the midst of a spiritual war. Your battles may not be so dramatic as this one, but sometimes simply getting up and giving glory to God from the moment your feet hit the floor is an equivalent challenge for you to overcome. Sometimes giving thanks in the midst of yet another hard and disappointing season is a task tall enough you might as well be climbing Mount Everest. The battle isn’t always one in which you’re battling demons for the soul of your neighbor, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still adventurous.
When you set out to follow Jesus faithfully, you are going to be challenged. Your will is going to be tested. Your resolve is going to be measured. Things which used to feel easy are going to hit a level of difficulty you never expected to encounter. The reason is that when you set out to follow Jesus, you have an enemy who doesn’t want to see you make any progress and is going to do everything he can to stop you in your tracks. As a matter of fact, that feeling of boredom is just another tactic he’ll use to keep you from moving forward. Following Jesus is an adventure at every point. You’ve simply got to step out and embrace it.