A few years ago, I was reading Luke 8, and was thinking about the account of Jesus who crossed over the sea to the land of the Gadarenes, delivered and healed a man, and came straight back across the sea to the place He had started from. Each location is described from the other, as being on the “other side”. It is curious that Jesus appears to simply stop what he is doing, and says to His disciples, “Let’s go to the other side”. He crosses over to a place He is not welcome and delivers this man, then returns to resume what He is doing. While in the land of the Gadarenes, a land where he was not wanted, He did no other work at that time, other than involving this man. I remember asking within myself, “Why did the Lord just suddenly cross over, do what He did, and return again to a place and people where He was welcome?” That very week one evening, my wife and I kept hearing a faint and periodic cry. It was clearly some creature in distress, but it was dark and stormy, we couldn’t see anything, and we couldn’t quite decide what it might be. The next morning we kept hearing it again. So as day began to break, I followed the sound which lead me to the “other side” of the creek in front of our house. After listening and looking, there, back in a hole between two boulders in a retaining wall, I saw this little puppy. She was terrified , but eventually came to a place where I could grab her. How a 7-or-so week old puppy ended up there, we have not a clue. But having gotten her out of her situation, I immediately crossed “back over” the creek to “our” side. (The other side is not very nice…bramble bushes, snakes, poison ivy, etc). The photo is her adoption picture at the Avery Humane Society, where my wife worked. She now has a happy and loving home.
Shortly after these things, it hit me…why Jesus made a sudden trip over to the other side, helped a man, and returned.
Jesus had heard him crying in the tombs.
So, I named her Petra, because she was drawn from a cave in the rocks.
Multitudes, legions, if you will (for they are many), who live under the sad and hateful notion, that we live a life of modified, goodly behavior, and so exist in some kind of cryogenic stasis, until we “die and go to heaven” and if, maybe if we cut muster, “receive our reward”. This man dwelt in the nearest place his adopted doctrine could get him to his “reward” , which was the tombs.
Jesus heard the anguished cry of this man in this sad estate, and delivered him, and REWARDED him, then and there. For the man was found sitting, clothed and in his right mind, at the feet of the Master, in the here and now, a lesson the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3, would do well to learn. They too, perceived they had it all waiting for them.