Sunday, November 13, 2011

Releasing Kingdom Presence & Power (Mark 5:14-20)

Mark 5:14-20 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.  

Mark 5:32-34 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." 

Mark 5:40-43 After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. 

These three amazing stories of Jesus' healing in Mark 5 tell us how Jesus not only preached about the Kingdom, but He also demonstrated its presence and power in His ministry.

(1) A mentally deranged man delivered from a legion of demons (1-20): The number of demons that went into this one man must be at least 2,000, for if we assume one demon went into one pig, there would be at least 2,000 demons that were cast out! A Roman Legion comprises up to 5,000 soldiers, so the number of demons cast out could well be up to 5,000! Demons occupy no "space" as they are not spatial beings and they can enter into one person by the thousands. So, when this man was delivered from the demons within him, he was "in his right mind." Some form of mental problems may have its source in demonic infestation.

(2) A woman healed of hemorrhage (21-34): No doctors were able to cure her problem, but when she touched Jesus in faith, she experienced healing. Faith is essential if we want to be healed. Pastors and evangelists need to preach more from the Gospels if they want their hearers to grow in their faith in Jesus.

(3) A 12 year-old girl raised from the dead (35-43): What a moving and amazing story of a father's perseverance of faith, despite the bad news that her daughter was dead. It was like the end of the road - game over. Yet Jesus encouraged the father not to give up. For Jesus, there is no such thing as "impossible" and no such thing as "it's game over, so let's quit!" I can imagine the joy of this father when he saw that his faith and perseverance paid off as his daughter was rescued from the dead. Death has lost its sting! Hallelujah!

Yet as amazing as these stories are, Jesus made an astounding promise in  John 14:12 -- "whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father." His saying, "I am going to the Father" refers to the Holy Spirit's outpouring when he went back to His Father to receive the "promise of the Father" (Holy Spirit) on behalf of the Church.

We need to see more "greater works" ministry in the Church of Jesus Christ worldwide. That is the potential of Alpha ministry -- to restore the Gospel of the Kingdom in every church! We need to teach churches to "expect great things from God" and to "attempt great things for God" (William Carey).  We need to not only talk about the Gospel but also demonstrate it, for Paul has said in 1 Corinthians 4:20, "For the Kingdom is not about talk, but power!"

Lord, You have taught us to pray daily "Your Kingdom come!" but we have managed to turn this powerful prayer into a ritualistic one. May Your Spirit open our hearts and minds to move us into a higher level of faith in our ministry so that every church will experience the "greater works" that You have promised! Thank You Jesus! Amen.

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