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Christian Biblical Studies
Luke 8: 35 (King James Version)
THE MAN REFERRED to in this text lived in a cemetery and foraged like an animal, in Gadara, by the Sea of Galilee. Possessed by demons, he is an extreme example of that peculiar affliction of the time, and is presented to us in this narrative as a proof of the healing power of Christ. People who knew the man came from the surrounding community to gape at him. Now restored, he sat, exhausted, and in his ‘right mind’.
Quite apart from the specific instance of this unnamed man, many of us, otherwise sane persons, pass through periods of comparative insanity – those times in our lives when we say and do things we later regret. How we would like to go back in time and do better! Youth, inexperience, sexual passion, ego, ambition, and a multitude of social or peer pressures may contribute to our follies and bring out the worst in us and cause harm to others.
The ‘if-only’ syndrome is a lament familiar to most of us. This need to make amends, to recover lost opportunities, to repair broken relationships, to ‘start over’, is one of the most common of human experiences, and finds its source in the inherent dissatisfaction with which mankind is afflicted.
For the Christian, the knowledge that our own sins are covered by faith in the crucified Christ is a relief so magnificent that it’s like starting life afresh. Of course, even so, life is not going to be perfect, and on occasion, the old condemnation raises its bristly head and attempts to condemn us all over again. This is a private, distressing struggle which many Christians face on a regular basis, though it is, in its own way, a part of the overall human experience. Ever since the fall in Eden man has collectively and individually been ‘out of sync’ with God.
But all things considered, the Christian faith helps to restore sanity to the human mind and adds a sense of perspective. Pride, greed, hostility – the emotions which underlie many of our sins – all these must submit to the rule of Christ in the believing heart. Exorcised of these and other inner ‘demons’ we find ourselves able to take stock of the world around us, adjusting our goals and affections in line with the new mind.
The Christian life is not bland: it takes great courage to push against the lusts of the flesh and cravings of ambition and self-exaltation. Indeed, we ought to pursue our Christian vocation dynamically, and with an intelligent, practical zeal. And, committed to imitating the Master, each Christian must, whenever possible, pursue his or her life of faith with energy in the service of others.
At its best mankind is endowed with earthly wisdom and common sense, and blessed with intellectual and industrial rigour. But like the unknown and unnamed individuals which comprise it, the whole hides a potential as yet untapped. It is the unlocking of this potential which the Almighty has in view. But before He may bring such a destiny about, the human family must achieve a righteous status – a work of faith based on the finished work of Christ, who died for all.
In keeping with the broad maxim that ‘change is born in crisis’, mankind careens toward a climax of trouble which will prepare it to receive the kingdom of Christ on earth. This worldwide distress will test mankind’s mettle in a period we might describe as a time of mass insanity. The Scriptures portray it as being at their ‘wit’s end’, having run out of ideas to correct the situation (Psalm 107: 27). Sometime after this upheaval Christ’s kingdom will be installed – a blessed time in which man will be restored to the original image of God, reinstating him in relationship to his Creator and in his right mind.
This article copyright January 2011 by ukbiblestudents.co.uk
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