Do you think of yourself as an insider, or an outsider?
I know, it depends on the context, right?
Thus far in Mark’s gospel Jesus has been trying to make the point that it’s not the insiders, but the outsiders that are welcomed into the kingdom of God. But no one gets it.
While in Capernaum (the center of Pharisaic learning), Jesus had multiple encounters with the Pharisees (who of course, thought they were insiders). How do these insiders respond to Jesus? They reject Jesus and said he was demon possessed (3:22). Nice.
So, it was the outsiders (lepers, tax collectors, Roman centurions, demon possessed) that Jesus gave his time and ministry to. How do outsiders respond to Jesus? They long to be with him. When Jesus went to “the other side” which was the pagan Gentile region of the Decapolis, who was it that proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God? An outsider - a formerly demon possessed man! After experiencing forgiveness, cleansing, healing and spiritual freedom, the demon possessed man begged Jesus “that he might be with him” (5:18).
Outsiders welcome Jesus as the Son of God, insiders reject Jesus. That’s ironic!
The Pharisees didn’t get it. But we get it, right? I mean, we’re never overly influenced by our money, love for comfort, or power, or our way of life, right?
After witnessing the massive miracle of casting out not just one, but a “legion” of demons into 2,000 pigs, how did the townsfolk respond? “they begged Jesus to…depart” (5:17). Why?
The townsfolk didn’t want to pay the economic cost of being associated with Jesus. But according to Jesus’ value system, the rescue, redemption and restoration of the demon possessed man was more important than a small fortune represented in the large herd of pigs. I wonder, would we view it that way if we had owned the pigs that were destroyed?
Financial cost or sacrifice for following Jesus is nothing new. Believers in Hebrews 10:34 had their personal property confiscated, and some were struggling with that.
How will we respond when following Jesus becomes more and more costly?
Might want to start mulling that over and walk ever closer to Jesus. Remember, we are here primarily for His kingdom, not our comfort.