When preachers or teachers explain the “already but not yet” aspect of our experience of the Kingdom of God, they often use the ‘D Day’ analogy. D Day of course was the determinative day of World War Two. The Allied forces landed at Normandy and formed a “beach head”. Once these forces were ensconced on that blood-soaked beach, the course of the war in Europe was set. The forces of Nazism were on the wane and its doom was inevitable. The teachers use this to illustrate the victory of the blood-soaked cross of Christ that makes inevitable His return to reign!
I was reading the other day about another ‘beach head’. This beach head was established by a singularly odd character!
Jesus crossed from his familiar territory to the Gadarenes. This was a gentile enclave known for its secular society. Galilee across the lake prided itself on being a ‘God-centred’ society but on the far side was a society that prided itself on being free of religious constraints. It was in this way a Godless society. Legion was its most extreme citizen. Rather than freedom though Legion found only bondage. Rather than self-satisfaction he found only torment. Finally, he shed the last vestiges of civilization along with his clothes and indeed his sanity. His life was one of torment at the hands of unbridled demonic forces.
Jesus no sooner steps ashore than he is confronted by secularism which had hit rock bottom. With compassion, and unheard of authority Jesus set Legion free. His new-found freedom did not resemble the freedom the secular world view offered. Soon he was clothed and in his right mind.
The many demons fled at the word of Jesus and entered a nearby herd of pigs. The pigs ran squealing and shrieking to their doom as a stark symbol of the end which Godlessness brings.
Jesus is soon shown ‘the left foot of fellowship’ as he is asked to leave their shores. It seems the Kingdom Beach Head is to be lost but God has another and better plan. Legion now wonderfully free wants to accompany Jesus to holier ground but Jesus forbids this. Instead, he instructs him to return to family and friends and tell them about the ‘Son Who Sets Us Free’. Where Jesus is not welcome has become Legion’s mission field. He is the beach head Jesus has established on the Gadarene shores. He has not been through seminary or even an Alpha Course. He is to simply tell: his former life, his current hope, and his wonder-filled personal encounter with Jesus.
I believe I, like Legion, have a beach head ministry. In fact,I believe all Christians have such a calling. In our neighbourhood, in our family, in the areas where Jesus is not yet welcome, we have the opportunity of sharing our story. The power of a changed life opens doors which are firmly shut to Jesus. Unlike Legion we live on this side of Pentecost. God’s Spirit enables the willing and softens hearts.
The key question then is “Am I willing?”
On a personal note, my back which has been so painful is vastly improved. Thank you to all who have prayed!
We just got back from a short visit in PEI. We experienced an immersive Vincent Van Gough exhibit, visited the aboriginal community of Lennox Island and visited a 98 year old family friend. David and Victoria were able to join us for the exhibit. PTL