A Maniac Becomes A Missionary
Some years ago I was so inspired by this article about a man named Jacob Koshy.
Jacob Koshy grew up in Singapore with a driving ambition: to be a success in life.
He desired to make all the money he could and get all the possessions he could get.
That ambition led him into the world of drugs and gambling, and eventually he became the lord
of an international smuggling network.
In 1980, he was arrested and placed in a government drug rehabilitation prison in Singapore.
He was frustrated beyond endurance.
All his goals, purposes, dreams, and ambitions were locked up with him in a tiny cell,
and his heart was cold and empty.
He was a smoker, and cigarettes weren't allowed in the prison.
So he smuggled in tobacco and rolled it in the pages of a Gideon Bible.
One day he fell asleep while smoking.
He awoke to find that the cigarette had burned out, and all that remained was a scrap of charred paper.
He unrolled it and read what was written: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
Jacob asked for another Bible and read the entire story of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus.
He suddenly realized that if God could help someone like Saul then God could help him, too.
There in his cell he knelt and prayed, asking Christ to come into his life and change him.
He began crying and couldn't stop.
The tears of a wasted life washed away his pain, and God redeemed him.
He started sharing his story with the other prisoners, and as soon as he was released,
he joined a church and became actively involved.
He met a Christian woman, and married her.
He became a missionary in the Far East where he tells people everywhere,
"Who would have believed that I could find the truth by smoking the Word of God?"
In our Scripture passage, we read about a man who had no ambition in life.
He was lost in his sins and was headed to Hell.
Then Jesus intervened in his life.
On the way to Gadara, Jesus has demonstrated His power of nature by calming the sea.
Now Jesus demonstrates His power over sin and Satan by saving this sinner.
We learn that this man was a maniac.
This man lived his life among the dead.
He was a sad, lonely, hurting, longing, unloved, unwanted individual.
His life was one with a tragic existence!
This man is out of control.
Probably others had tried to help this man, but had no success.
His passions were stronger than his ability to control them.
No one was able to change him.
This man was totally under the influence of evil in his life.
Though people who cared had tried to intervene in their lives, it did no good.
It only created more resentment and rebellion in his life, and caused him to believe
that there was no hope for him.
He had come to believe that he was totally hopeless.
His torment was continual.
Day and night he cried out.
Day and night he was in a place of isolation.
Day and night he would try to injure and harm himself.
This is a pathetic scene that Mark has told us concerning this man and his helpless and lost condition.
Surely he wanted a different life, but he was absolutely powerless to accomplish that by himself.
This poor man needed someone to rescue him.
He needed someone to do something for him that he could not do for himself.
As someone has said: "He needed someone to reach farther down than he could reach up!"
Then one day a boat lands just outside the graveyard.
This tormented man didn't know the occupants of that boat, but the demons who live within him did.
Soon He is at the feet of the only One in the universe Who could help him!
Because of His great love and compassion Jesus wasn't going content to leave that man
to remain in his wretched condition!
Jesus crossed that sea, through that terrible storm, just to reach this one, solitary individual.
As far as we know Jesus did nothing else while He was here!
He came just for this one man!
That is just like Jesus!
That which this man, nor anyone else could do, was accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ.
One word from Jesus and this man was free from his horrible condition and hopeless life.
He was forever changed by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we will see in a moment, his life was totally and radically changed.
This is what happens when Jesus passes by!
Remember, this seems to be the only reason Jesus came to this side of the lake.
He came so that one man might be saved by the grace of God.
Oh, what a difference it makes when Jesus passes by!
Just remember ask:
The woman at the well - Jesus needs to go through Samaria. (John 4 -- "Must needs go.")
Remember Bartimaeus - Matt. 10:46-52.
Remember the woman with an issue of blood - Luke 8:43-48.
Remember the lame man at Pool of Bethesda - John 5:1-9.
Remember the Leper - Mark 1:40-45.
Remember the Blind man - John 9:1-38.
Remember Saul of Tarsus - Acts 9:1-9.
Remember the Disciples - Matt. 4:18-22.
Remember Lazarus - John 11:1-44.
And the list goes on and on!
Verses 11-14 tells us how dramatic it was.
It Was Dramatic/
These verse tell us that those demons left that man, entered a herd of 2,000 swine,
drowned the swine and left!
That's a pretty dramatic conversion!
It grabbed their attention!
It caused a stir.
Those who saw it ran to tell others what had happened!
That's what happens when a person is saved!
Anytime it occurs, it is dramatic!
A life is changed!
Hell is robbed of another victim!
Death is cheated!
Satan loses another battle!
God is glorified!
There is rejoicing in Heaven!
A sinner is forever redeemed -- changed and made a member of the family of God!
That's pretty dramatic!
Swine may not die by the thousands when a sinner repents, but greater miracles than that
take place in the heart, the life and the future of that individual.
When Jesus moves into a place and starts redeeming sinners, word will get out about it!
Nothing is more dramatic than that what happens is the life of a person who trusts Jesus.
That old, dead sinner is made alive in Jesus and becomes a brand new creation. (2 Cor. 5:17)
They get new life, a new family, total forgiveness of their past and future, deliverance from the prison of sin
and a home in Heaven when they leave this world.
That's pretty dramatic!
It Was Definite.
When those who ran to town to tell about what had happened returned with the townspeople,
they were greeted by an amazing sight: that wild, uncontrollable demoniac was just sitting there
looking around with a big smile on his face.
He wasn't crying out!
He wasn't hurting himself!
He wasn't naked.
He was just sitting there, fellow-shipping with Jesus, acting as if he was as normal as anyone else!
There was no mistaking the fact that something big had happened!
This man is a picture of what happens when a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ.
This is what Jesus does for those who trust Him.
He takes their torment and turns it into peace.
All the oppressions and obsessions are replaced with a peace that passes all understanding.
Peace for the saint is the promise of Jesus. (John 14:27
Even if they hadn't noticed how calm he was sitting there, surely they noticed the fact
that he was no longer nude.
The work Christ had done on the inside of this man, produced changes on the outside of him as well.
So it is when a person comes to faith in Jesus.
The outer appearance and manner of life will conform itself to the new inner life created by Jesus.
In other words, when a person gets right with God, it will change the way that person acts!
A person's desires will change!
A person's appetites will change!
Their sense of right and wrong will change!
They have become a new creature. (2 Cor. 5:17)
Jesus sends him home with the instructions to tell others what the Lord had done for him.
He was to give his testimony and tell the lost that he had been found.
He was to tell the captives that there was freedom in Jesus!
He was to tell the wounded that there was balm in Gilead.
He was to bear the good news of salvation to a lost and dying world.
This is still the Lord's command for every Christian today!
If you are saved, you have a story to tell!
It is a story of a person who was hopeless and helpless until Jesus came by and made the difference!
Jesus wants you to tell someone else about what He has done for you. (Matthew. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15)
"I'll tell the world, that I'm a christian,
I'm not ashamed, His name to bear;
I'll tell the world, that I'm a christian,
I'll take Him with me anywhere.
I'll tell the world, how Jesus saved me,
and how He gave me a life brand new;
And I know that if you trust Him,
that all He gave me, He'll give to you.
I'll tell the world, that He's my Saviour,
No other one, could love me so;
My life, my all is His forever,
and where He leads me I will go.
For when He comes, and life is over,
For those who love Him there's more to be;
Eyes have never seen the wonders,
That He's preparing, for you and me
Oh, tell the world, that you're a christian,
Be not ashamed,His name to bear;
Oh tell the world, that you're a christian,
And take Him with you anywhere."
Sermon adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White