Harry was a hot mess – like a squirrel on meth. He was stressed out, messed-up and disturbed.
He lived in the cemetery. Harry ran around like a madman screaming and howling. He cut himself. And here’s the real kicker… he was naked.
Harry wasn’t a healthy, contributing member of society. He was a menace, a freak-show and a nuisance.
Then one day, Jesus shows up and changes Harry’s life forever.
Harry was healed, delivered, set free… he was a new man!
When Jesus set Harry free, the demons who had been tormenting Harry went into a herd of pigs…
Pigs go crazy.
Ear-shattering oinking and squealing.
Herd jumps off a cliff.
Mass pig suicide.
Angry pig farmers demand Jesus get out of town.
Harry begs Jesus to let him leave with him.
Jesus says, “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story – what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.”
(Mark 5.19 MSG)
Harry obeyed. He started preaching in the Decapolis (the 10 cities of that region), telling everyone what Jesus had done for him.
He was the talk of the town.
Fast forward – a few chapters later in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus returns to the Decapolis.
This time, the people are happy to see Him. They bring the sick to him – confident that he will heal them.
Jesus heals the sick. The people are beside themselves with enthusiasm.
Gushing with praise, they say: “Everything he does is wonderful.” (Mark 7.37 NLT).
The attitude of the 10 city region was different this time.
The testimony of one man made a difference. The people could see that his life had genuinely been changed.
Harry experienced God’s grace and was forever changed (that’s what grace does – it changes things).
Harry the scary cemetery dweller somehow transforms into Harry the happy testimony sharing machine.
Think of the impact Harry had on the Decapolis: this crazed madman suddenly becomes a nice, normal, healthy, fully-clothed difference-maker in that 10 city region!
Harry had a terrible reputation, but grace changed him.
Grace makes all the difference in people’s lives…
and when people change, the Decapolis changes.