Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea, 8 Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him.
9 Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him. 10 He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him. 11 And whenever those possessed by evil spirits caught sight of him, the spirits would throw them to the ground in front of him shrieking, “You are the Son of God!” 12 But Jesus sternly commanded the spirits not to reveal who he was.
13 Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. 14 Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach, 15 giving them authority to cast out demons. 16 These are the twelve he chose:
Simon (whom he named Peter), 17 James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot), 19 Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him). – Mark 3:7-19
We were so proud of our son when he finished his US Navy basic training. We went to the Pass and Review ceremony at the Great Lakes Naval Air Station. It was an impressive ceremony. At the end of it we were allowed to go meet him and congratulate him face to face. I was very excited and started toward the area he was at. Suddenly, however, I felt a strong tug on my shirt. My dear wife – sensitive as she was and perceptive, and gracious – realized that our future daughter-in-law would want to get to him first. She was excited to see him as well. I stepped aside and let her go first. We were all glad to see him…and very proud of him as well.
The demons and Jesus: not so much. Their reaction to seeing or encountering Jesus was to scream in terror. This encounter is certainly what James had in mind when he said, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19). They were not delighted to see Jesus. They were his sworn enemies: set in their ways. Determined never to acquiesce to his authority, even as they were forced to do just that.
Are there some places you would not want to take Jesus? Are there some places where if he were to show up, you would scream in terror? Your bedroom? Your secret hideaway? Your computer screen? Your coffee klatch? Your financial statements? The deep dark secret room of your heart? That one stop on the way home? That one place when you’re out of town? That one store you know you should avoid…for any reason?
It is precisely where we might not want Jesus that we need him the most. Those who love Jesus, and who are called to faith in him will want him in every corner of their lives. But even we who do love him might not be so sure every moment and every place. Thankfully we need not scream in terror when Jesus shows up – even in the dark and ugly places of our lives. We can be thankful that he comes to release us and free us from their grip and fend off Satan’s accusing darts.
The demons were not glad to see Jesus, but those who are released from their grip rejoice in his redemption and rescue. We sing, “Hallelujah!” We shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Blessed is the one to whom Jesus comes.