In today’s worship we launch a new sermon series: “Summer Travels With Jesus.” When Jesus began his public ministry, it was localized in the northern region known as Galilee. As word spread about the remarkable son of Joseph and Mary—now an itinerant teacher—crowds of the curious and suspicious alike flocked to him. Before long, it was time to take his message of repentance and belief in the gospel out to the rest of the world…starting in Jerusalem. This summer we will hear stories and teaching from Jesus’ remarkable journey south to Jerusalem and the temple.
But first there is a kind of “warm up” trip across across the Sea of Galilee. Coming to the region of the Gerasenes—a mostly gentile area—Jesus encounters a wild man who is possessed by demons. The townsfolk have left the man alone, and will have nothing to do with him, but Jesus brings him healing and a new hope. The man’s fellow citizens are upset and frightened, and no one can find fault with the man when he wants to get in the boat with Jesus and his disciples and leave his fellow citizens far behind.
But Jesus tells the man he must stay and proclaim the goodness of God. Jesus has done more than remove the man’s negative traits; he has empowered him for an important mission. From that day onward, every day the man walked about among his countrymen was a testimony and witness to the saving power of God, and a reminder that the Kingdom of God had come near.