Have you ever had the experience where people told you to get out of their space? Did you respect their negative wishes, or did you try to restore the broken relationship?
I was standing at the precipice of Nazareth where the religious people tried to kill Jesus by throwing Him headlong down the cliff?
Do you think He would ever go back to try and won their friendship at the cost of His life?
Yes, He did.
This is Gadara in Jordan. When Jesus healed two of their most dangerous demoniacs the Gadarenes told Him leave their territory as soon as possible.
Do you think He would ever visit these unthankful bad-mannered people ever again? Yes.
Let’s recap the events that led up to their rejection of Jesus:
Mark 5:14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened.
Mark 5:15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.
Mark 5:16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine.
Mark 5:17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.
Mark 5:18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him.
The brief time the two men had spent had spent with Jesus must have been to them the greatest thrill of their lives. As they saw Him getting into the boat to depart, they realized that they were about to be separated from the One who had restored them to health of mind.
Perhaps, for the moment, they feared that His absence might mean the return of the demons, which they no doubt dreaded worse than death itself. In any event, they wished to remain with Jesus.
Mark 5:19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”
The inhabitants of Decapolis needed to hear the good news of Jesus, the Healer of body and soul. These men were to go and share the good news.
As they proclaimed their message throughout the region of Decapolis, what they said was confirmed by the report of the swineherds, which must have spread throughout the vicinity of Gergesa with lightning speed.
Men everywhere must have listened with eager interest when these, for whose benefit the miracle had been performed, came with the gospel story. Their own former reputation as madmen was widely known.
The word means ten-cities. They were mostly populated by heathen. Let’s visit some of them:
Modern Amman in Jordan was one of them. In those days it was called Philadelphia.
I can see these two healed and converted men telling the people of how Jesus healed the.
GERASA was another city. Today it is called Jerash. Can you hear the two men testifying about the wonderworking Jesus who healed them?
ABILA is another city where these two men proclaimed the message of Jesus, the Healer of mind and body.
Though the people of Gergesa had not received Jesus, He did not leave them to the darkness they had chosen. When they told Him to depart from them, they had not heard His words.
They were ignorant of that which they were rejecting. Therefore, He again sent the light to them, and by those to whom they would not refuse to listen.
What a loving, considerate and forgiving Saviour.
Men marvelled as they listened to the wondrous news. A door was opened to the gospel throughout that region.
When Jesus returned to Decapolis, the people flocked about Him, and for three days, not merely the inhabitants of one town, but thousands from all the surrounding region, heard the message of salvation. Even the power of demons is under the control of our Saviour, and the working of evil is overruled for good.
The Bible does not mention it, but they must have told the citizens of these cities that they would notify them when Jesus would be back in nine months’ time.
What happened after Jesus left Phoenicia? Mark tells us:
Mark 7:31 Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee.
Where was He heading to? Was He undisturbed on His way to Gadarenes which previously rejected Him?
Mark 7:32 Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him.
Mark 7:33 And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue.
Mark 7:34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”
Mark 7:35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.
Mark 7:36 Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it.
Mark 7:37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THIS HEALING?
Matthew will tell us:
Matthew 15:29 Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there.
Jesus was back at the exact site where the people chased Him away after the pigs drowned.
Who were there to welcome Him. And who told the multitude to gather there?
Matthew 15:30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.
Matthew 15:31 So the multitude marvelled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.
I think the two missionaries were delighted to see so many people coming to listen to Jesus.
What happened to the crowd at the end of that day? They slept right there in the open.
What happened after the second day? Same thing.
How did Jesus react to their tremendous spiritual hunger?
Matthew 15:32 Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
This was the passion of Christ; feeding people with the good news. Telling them of His loving Father who cared for them.
And they said to Him. Master do what you did at Bethsaida where You multiplies the bread and the fish. No problem.
Matthew 15:33 Then His disciples said to Him, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?”
Matthew 15:34 Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven, and a few little fish.”
Matthew 15:35 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.
Matthew 15:36 And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude.
Do you get the picture? The Jews rejected these heathen people. But the Son of God not only fed them with the words of life, He also fed them with bread and fish.
I am looking forward to meet these rejected people in heaven. I want them to tell me more about their conversion experience.
Matthew 15:37 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left.
Can you visualise them taking these miracle food to their friend and telling about Jesus who multiplied the bread and fish in His hands?
They may have said to their friends and neighbours in the cities of the Decapolis.
“You know what? Our eyes almost popped as we watched the bread and fish keep on multiplying it in His hands. It took Him hours to perform this miracle in order to feed al of us. Please have a taste of this miracle bread and fish.
Matthew 15:38 Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.
Matthew 15:39 And He sent away the multitude, got into the boat, and came to the region of Magdala.
Can you see the two healed demoniacs waving at Jesus and His disciples as they sailed away .
When I visited the excavations of Magdala where they went on shore, I thought of Jesus and His disciples. They were taught to hate these heathen people and now they served them with food.
They have these memories of people thanking them for serving them. Jesus was trying to tell them that every single person is precious in the sight of God.
And this is the thought with which I want to conclude. You and every other nationality are very precious in His eyes.
We are going to accompany Jesus to the Mount of Transfiguration. You will meet two of the three people from our planet that translated and taken to heaven – Moses and Elijah. We will find they visited Jesus.