“We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.” (2 Corinthians 6:6 NLT)
One of the most contagious attributes of our Savior, the Lord Jesus, is kindness. One obvious illustration of His kindness that comes to mind is found in Mark 5. In the opening verses of Mark 5 Jesus and His disciples have landed in the region of the Gerasenes and are immediately greeted by a demon possessed man. Jesus, as He always was, responded to the naked lunatic with calmness and kindness.
While I suspect the disciples were planning a strategy to make a quick getaway, Jesus’ plan was to address the man’s problem. The troubled man was filled with a legion of evil spirits who, as the story reveals, were subject to the voice of God’s Son. As strange as it may seem, Jesus was even kind to the demons, allowing them to go into a herd of pigs that were feeding nearby, causing them to run down the steep hillside and plunge into the lake and drown.
It didn’t take long for the news to spread, so soon many from the nearby town came to see for themselves what all the fuss was about. The Bible says in Mark 5:15: “A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid.”
Being confident that most of those in the crowd knew the formerly demon possessed man, and had written him off as a nut job, it doesn’t surprise me that they were afraid. It does, however, surprise me that Jesus’ kindness and compassion for this man didn’t lead them to desire closeness to Jesus, but instead caused them to ask Him to leave them alone.
While I’ve often wondered why, it became crystal clear to me that the primary, if not the only reason Jesus made the trip across the lake, was to heal this desperate man. And it became even more apparent as the people begged Jesus to leave, the now healed and sane man begged Jesus to let him come with Him.
There was a part of me that wondered why Jesus refused to let him come, but from my present perspective it makes perfect sense. There are many other examples of Jesus’ kindness transforming a person He helped and filling them with Himself, yet they didn’t go with Him. Like the former demon-possessed man, the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, upon her realization that Jesus was the Messiah, dropped her water jugs and headed straight back into the village that knew all about her former life. But why?
What better way to explain who Jesus is than to be a living, breathing example of what He can do when His loving kindness is released into the life of an otherwise hopeless person? Jesus’ kindness isn’t given simply to draw someone to Himself, rather to send them out to share the good news of who He is and what He’s done in their lives with anyone who would listen.
As a result of the Samaritan woman’s testimony, many in her village put their faith in Jesus. And, though the Bible doesn’t say specifically, I believe many came to faith in Jesus as a result of the former demon-possessed man’s testimony. Mark 5:20 says: “So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.”
The kindest thing any of us who know and love Jesus, who have been transformed by the renewing of our hearts and minds due to His incalculable kindness to us, is to tell someone else just how great He is. I certainly know how I was before I met Jesus, and it wasn’t pretty. It never ceases to amaze me how much loving Jesus causes my heart to want to share Him with everyone I can, every chance I get.
If you haven’t “caught” His kindness, could it be you haven’t experienced it for yourself?
Food for thought.
Blessings, Ed 😊
One thought on “Kindness Is Contagious”
Why were their pigs in Israel? Why did the crowd who knew the formerly demon possessed man ask Jesus to leave their area? It is because that area on the North-West coastline of the Sea of Galilee, near the city of Capernaum, was not a Jewish settlement, but was a Roman & gentile settlement. The people of that area were mad because Jesus sent the legion of demons into the pigs, which then jumped off a cliff into the sea and died. This cost these people a lot of money because all their herd of pigs were killed.
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