“Let us cross over to the other side of the lake. “
Such an unassuming statement.
But it is safe to assume that no statement is unassuming when spoken by the mouth of Jesus. Instead, this particular suggestion to “cross over” was the launchpad for a chain of miraculous events leading to one of my all-time favorite Bible stories.
For starters, a relatively simple journey across the Sea of Galilee turned into a stormy adventure that nearly capsized a boatload of seasoned fisherman. If it weren’t for the calming voice of the Calmer of the Seas, this tale may have taken a turn for the worse and ended with the drowning of the boat’s occupants. Thankfully, God had further plans for this motley crew and delivered them safely to the shore of the Gadarenes (or Gerasenes, depending upon translation).
While the miraculous delivery from a raging tempest makes for a great story, it is not today’s primary focus. My purpose is to draw your attention to Jesus’ interaction with one, lone man. A man so bound by Satan that he was driven to live naked and tormented among the tombs of the dead. One man, held captive by the forces of darkness, banished to live in solitude and misery. One man who encountered a Savior who deemed it necessary to “cross over to the other side” and set a prisoner free.
One man for whom Jesus went out of His way.
And it changed his life.
With one word from the Lord, a legion of demons was transferred into a passel of pigs. And a man, once driven insane by the powers of darkness, was catapulted into the light of the Kingdom of God. Transformed by the Shaper of Souls. Destined to new beginnings.
While a herd of demon-possessed swine hurling themselves to their death in the lake was what initially drew the attention of the surrounding community, the people were even more startled to see the man who had once been naked and crazed now sitting peacefully at the feet of Jesus. Fully clothed and in his right mind.
Completely. Totally. Healed.
All because Jesus was determined to “cross over to the other side” for him.
Today I am reminded of the fact that Jesus is still in the business of “crossing over.” And I’m thankful that He does so for the likes of me.
I have a Savior who is willing to go out of His way for me, even knowing that He will not always be welcomed when He arrives. And I am grateful. I’m grateful to have a God who sees beyond the external life I portray to others and is not afraid to deal with my demons. Those things that hold me captive. Thoughts that torment me. Worries that keep me awake at night. Anxieties that compel me to act contrary to who I am created to be.
Jesus is purposeful in His dealings with mankind. He does nothing haphazardly. Nothing without divine intent. Even when we can’t see the end from our beginnings. There is a miracle in the making for each one who encounters the Word of God. There is a freedom coming. A day of deliverance.
A time to sit at the feet of Jesus and simply marvel at being a recipient of so much love.
May today be your day of freedom as you encounter the King of the Crossing Over.
And those demons that haunt you? Well, they are in for a mighty big surprise when they come up against the Savior of the world.
I sure hope they like bacon.