Tourist attraction

“Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭5‬:‭1‬-‭9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Tourist attraction

Many a person, having come to know the Lord Jesus has found themselves cast off by friends and family, for they are no longer the “life of the party” they once were. Gone is the drunkeness, the debauchery, the infamy, for which those who know them could count upon for a good joke, or a laugh.

They are no longer the butt of jokes, or the modern day Falstaffs that the others point to and use to instruct their young.

I tell you the truth, I was a fun drunk. My humor was unfettered, my demeanor far more affable that when sober, and I was not for many a witticism for my thinking was greatly enhanced in my disinhibited state.

Though I seemed filled with mirth on the outside, I was dying slowly on the inside, for there was much internal emotional and psychological damage, the consequences of the traumas of my childhood.

I looked a the story of the demon possessed man in Gadarenes this morning in Mark. As I read, I thought of all the people I have met through the years who themselves have been the demoniacs of their worlds, the ones so dysfunctional that they have become a spectacle, a tourist attraction of sorts.

I am sure that everyone in the town had known of the man in the cemetery, and while people feared him, the demoniac as he is referred to in Luke, was a fixture, curiosity that everyone could point to a part of the local lore.

Then along comes Jesus, the Creator of Universe, the Holy One of God. After the encounter with Jesus, the man was changed, for the old had passed away and new had become. The word of this great miracle spread quickly.

“Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.”
Mark 5:15-17 NKJV

There is no greater conviction than a sinner made clean, saved any the blood of the Lamb. The people of the city did not fear because of the swine, but because of what Jesus had done to the demoniac. The tourist attraction was gone, and the he was now in his right mind. If Jesus could die that to him, what could he do to them.

One will find often that there is great investment in the things dedicated to sin the lives of those who do know not the Lord. They have invested heavily in sin. The are great stories in history of great revivals emptying out the bars of the city where it happened, of drug dealers having no one to sell to because they customers have all been saved.

I think of the story in the book of Acts where the young slave girl stalked Paul and his entourage as sought to do ministry in Thyatira.

“Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.”
Acts 16:16-19 NKJV

Brothers and sisters, each of us was, to some degree, a tourist attraction of sorts, for the devil made spectacle of us. When we came to know Jesus and began to change, many of us may have lost friends. I know I did. We were made new creations, suited for the purpose of the Lord and not that of the world.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
II Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Ephesians 2:10-13 NKJV

Because we are new creations, we no longer belong to this world. We have gone from being alienated from God, to being brought near. Additionally, we have been given a mission of reconciliation, as we seek to bring others to the throne of God.

My people, when you look out into this world, and you see the homeless person, the addict, the person caught up in alternative lifestyles, do not allow yourself to be a tourist, delighting in the misfortune of others, but recognize that you are seeing a modern day demoniac, possessed by the god of this world.

Remember that you have been given the one thing that can free them: The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Lest we forget:

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,”
I Corinthians 15:1-4 NKJV

Let us people bringing the Good News, telling not only of His death and burial, but also of the resurrection of Jesus and its power to raise the spiritually dead to life.

There will be great push back in the coming days, weeks, months, and perhaps…years, for when the great revival begins, our world will be transformed. Many will turn aside from the idols of their chosen sin.

“Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.”
Acts 19:19-20 NKJV

As the change sweeps through the world it will be like that in Ephesus, when those who made their livings of sin, rose up to attack those bring the Gospel.

“And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen. He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: “Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.” Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!””
Acts 19:23-28 NKJV

The world will cry out against Christians in those days, the fervor will lead to a world wide slaughter of the followers of Jesus. But we will stand, and we will deliver for we have been commissioned as the demoniac was to go and tell.

“And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.”
Mark 5:18-20 NKJV

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