I was reading Mark 5 recently and most of the time, and it hard to argue with this, when I have read this chapter Jesus has dominated my focus.
But this time what struck me was the effect that an encounter with Jesus and his Kingdom has on the people in the chapter.
In v1-20, the multiple-demon possessed man, chased away from community, crying out in the tombs, cutting himself daily is restored to his family, and he goes home. Mark makes a point of recording those words of Jesus. A mother gets her son back, a sister her brother, perhaps even a little boy his dad and a wife her husband.
In v24-34 a women who has suffered 12 years with a menstrual bleeding, who has spent all her money on doctors and instead of getting better has got worse. She would have been classed as ritually unclean, unable to engage in normal sexual activity, unable to bear children and shunned socially since contact with her made others unclean.
Unable to make love to her husband or perhaps unable, because of her condition to find a husband or perhaps even divorced because of her condition. That night perhaps, she could make love to her husband for the first in years. The next day she was free to engage fully in the social life and fabric of her community no longer shunned but clean.
In v35-42 a Father gets his daughter back from the dead. A father distraught, mourning, filled with sorrow at the death of his little girl is reunited with her because of Jesus. That night Jairus can tuck his little girl in, tell her a bedtime story and kiss her goodnight because he encountered the Kingdom of Jesus.
The Kingdom of Jesus is one that restores our humanity, brings life and healing. And even more so than these stories the cross of Jesus restores our relationship with the Father – connecting us with the source of life, hope, dignity, love and mercy. When people encounter the Kingdom of God, it results in a restoration of their humanity, expressed primarily through their relationships.
That got me thinking… What results from the presence of God’s Kingdom people in my city? How does the city experience the people of the Kingdom in our city? All too often the result of our presence is mere words, a disengagement and a condemnation – rather than a restoration of humanity, expressed through restored relationships.
“The church… a glorious outpost of the kingdom of God: an embassy of heaven. This is where the world can see what it means to be truly human.” (Timmis & Chester: Total Church)