HE PASSED BY ON PURPOSE Andy Hollifield 10-28-17
Mark 5:2-6 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, (3) Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: (4) Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. (5) And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. (6) But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
John 4:2-4 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) (3) He left Judea and departed into Galilee. (4) And he must needs go through Samaria.
John 5:5-9 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. (6) When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? (7) The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. (8) Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. (9) And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
What a difference it makes when Jesus passes by! Time does not permit me to talk about all the times that Jesus passed by. There is the case of blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10 who called out for mercy as Jesus passed by and Jesus stopped the crowd, called for him to be brought, and gave him his sight. In Matthew 9, Mark 5, and Luke 8 you have the woman with the issue of blood who touched only the border of his garment and was immediately healed. Again, he stopped the crowd and asked “who touched me?” as the crowd was thronging him and pressing against him. Her faith had caused him to feel that virtue had went out of him. Also, in Mark 5 and Luke 8 we find the story of Jairus coming where Jesus was to ask that his dying daughter be spared. Before Jesus could even answer him, a person came from Jairus’ house and told him his daughter had died. Jesus went home with him and raised his daughter from the dead.
Those are just a few of the many occasions when Jesus passed by and made a dramatic change in the lives of ordinary people. From the rich rulers to the crippled or blind beggars, no case was too tough for him. After all, he once said in Matthew 28:18 “…all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. That said ALL power. Not just enough to maybe get by on or enough to handle some things but not others, but ALL power. There is no more power that can be had than what he has. Let’s try to put that in proper perspective. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” If he has ALL power; and he does, then he can certainly give us rest when the storms of life began to rage against us.
Now I want to look back at the scriptures we started with. In Mark 5 we find the account of what we call the demoniac of the Gadarenes. One thing I noticed while writing this that I hadn’t seen before, was that this man came out of the city according to Luke 8. He apparently roamed the city but made his dwelling in the tombs and didn’t live in a house. It’s easy just to put him off in the wilderness by himself but that’s not the way it always was. The people of the city had to constantly be aware of where he was and what he was doing because of the danger they thought he presented. Mark’s account says that when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him. The verses above give evidence to the fact that a lot of well-meaning people had tried to help him but without any success. He himself had abused his body just trying to get relief from the devils that possessed him. If you read all of this story you will find that he had enough devils to kill two thousand hogs. We are no match for the devil but Jesus is and we can’t get so mean and out of control that he won’t pass by our way. I believe he went to the Gadarenes that day just for the purpose of delivering that one man. One thing that makes me believe that is that after he had commanded the devils to go into the hogs, the people of the city wanted him to leave. Apparently the only thing he accomplished was getting this man to the Lord. I don’t believe I have read where he did anything else before they asked him to leave. He can still deliver you out of whatever your trouble is, it’s not too big for him. All you have to do is cry out and worship him.
I have always been blown away by the scripture in John 4 that Jesus “must needs go through Samaria.” The Jews and Samaritans have no dealings with each other but according to that one verse; Jesus had a purpose for going there at the time he did. It says he was at the well about the sixth hour. At that time, days and nights were divided into four watches of three hours each. To say the sixth hour would imply he was there at noon which also makes sense because he had been traveling long enough to be weary with his journey. That is the part that makes this whole story look intentional on Jesus’ part. Women came to fill their water pots at the start of the day in all likelihood to have water for meals and bathing. No one probably came at noon except this one woman. The one person who had been so cheap and lived so loose and sinful that respectable people probably had little or nothing to do with her. That may have been the reason she came at that time but no one knows for sure. The one thing we do know is that Jesus came just prior to her arrival. Another interesting thing that makes me believe this one on one meeting was intentional is that everywhere that Jesus went he was surrounded by multitudes. Why was there no multitude with him that day? I personally believe he set it up that way so he could meet this woman one on one and offer her living water. She obviously knew scripture but had not tried to live by it. According to the law of Moses, she was known to be living repeatedly in adultery and should have been stoned. But mercy was sitting on the well when she came to draw water that day. This story is proof that you can’t get so sinful that Jesus won’t pass by where you are.
The last one I want to look at is the crippled man by the pool. For thirty-eight years this man had tried to make it on his own and always came up short. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” His best efforts were never enough to get the healing he so desperately needed. The amazing thing is that with all of the times he had failed, he kept coming back. He knew where to get what he needed and he kept trying to get into that pool. Another amazing thing is that he didn’t even recognize who Jesus was. I bet that by the time he was walking through the crowd carrying his bed that he had been confined to for all those years, he knew exactly where to go. Jesus found him in the temple. Another case of someone being helped by the Lord and worshiping him. Another interesting fact is that there is no record of Jesus healing anyone else that was laying on those 5 porches, only this man. Also, he had walked straight to him so he obviously knew where he was. You have never gotten so helpless and hopeless that Jesus don’t know exactly where you are and exactly what you need. He knows all about your need and how long you have been in that case too. Also, he is not interested in what anyone else thinks about it, he is just passing by on purpose to meet your need.
I am thankful that Jesus doesn’t answer prayer by polling the brethren or the religious crowd. If he did, I might never see a prayer answered. I am also glad that I have never gotten too sinful or too mean or too helpless that he can’t give me what I need. As you can see, Jesus put forth a lot of effort to get to these folks and meet their needs. For the woman, he took time out of his journey. For the demoniac, he came to where he was on a ship just for him. Last of all, for the cripple, he passed by a lot of other folks to get to where he was. Do you realize that if any of these had not been obedient to Christ, they would not have been helped. He went to the meanest one, the wretched one, and the one that could do absolutely nothing to help himself. The mean one was found clothed and in his right mind. The wretched one had her sins exposed to her and went immediately and told others about him. The helpless one, when he was obedient and put forth the effort to rise up and walk, found out that he could. Had any of them not been obedient, they would not have gotten what they needed from the Lord. You also have to be obedient and like Jesus said to Jairus, “believe only” and you too will be made whole. I don’t know what is hindering you from getting to the Lord or what your circumstance might be, but he does and he has never had a case that he couldn’t handle. By the way; you aren’t reading this by chance. He has sent it to you on purpose. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!