A big part of who we are as comes from the people that came before us. They have left imprints on our lives. Whether good or bad. Their legacy is with us. Today, I was reminded that as believers, we have been given a lasting imprint on our lives from Jesus Himself.
Over the last month, our Friday small group has been studying the book of Mark. It’s a very fast paced book with many short snippets of Jesus’s life here on this earth. Today we were in Mark 5.
As we were reading and discussing today, I was just struck by the lasting impact of Jesus. How he changes and impacts lives, and how those lives are forever impacted. For example, in Mark chapter five, a man is healed from a demon possession, a woman with a blood disease for 12 years was healed, and then a 12 year old girl was raised from the dead.
Each short story was a reminder that God was God over life and death, over the body, over the demons. They represented His authority. His grace. His power. His love.
Each time one of these people were healed, Jesus usually didn’t stick around too long. He usually left and moved on to the next group of people. Even though Jesus physically left, there was a piece of Him left behind. An imprint.
For instance, the demon possessed man. The man that was feared greatly. Inhabited by AT LEAST 2,000 demons. So powerful that he would break the chains and shackles that bound him. He was an outcast. Abandoned. Controlled. Overtaken. That man now had been freed. His body. His mind. He was once again, himself. Because of Jesus.
Think what his life would be after (this is all speculation as it doesn’t allude to any of this in the text). People passing by maybe one day soon after would be like “hey isn’t that the same dude that was insane? Why does he seem normal?” That kind of change gets people’s attention. Maybe one person came. And then maybe a few more. And then maybe a few more. Til the entire town adjacent to him were able to see the change visibly with their own eyes. He wasn’t feared anymore. He was maybe invited back. Able to come back and live a normal life. That is wild! That only happened because Jesus freed him. Even though Jesus was not physically there, that imprint of Jesus would be felt throughout. Almost like a tattoo or a mark that the once demon possessed man could be reminded of daily. He’d remember that day that Jesus is His grace, authority, power, and love stopped by to set him free.
Or think about the woman who had suffered from a rare blood disease for 12 years! She had been to every doctor imaginable, and those doctors treated her unsuccessfully. It was more like torture, as there was no cure that they could find. She had spent all that she had. Not only had her disease not gotten better, but it also worsened! Just imagine the hopelessness she felt. The depression that was probably evident. In that culture, she would even be considered “unclean” and not be able to take part in any religious matters. Feel the weight of all this. Put yourself in her shoes.
Then one day, she hears of this guy Jesus who has been healing people, and that he’s going to be in her area. So she ventures out, pain and all, and finds Jesus, and He’s in a crowd. Her thought process is this: “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” What faith. So she reaches through the crowd, probably blood showing through her clothes, and touches his garment, and IMMEDIATELY she is healed. She is 100 percent healed automatically just by touching Jesus’s clothes. Wild! She was healed of a disease that could not be figured out by any doctor that she had seen. Jesus did not even touch her, but just her touching his clothes, she was healed. And Jesus said so Himself that her faith had healed her.
She was probably like “What??! No way. How in the world am I healed???? How is this possible?” She would probably just stand there as the crowds passed by her, maybe falling to her knees, weeping, literally just sitting in the dust in unbelief of what had just happened. She would return home, and the pain, the discomfort of it all, it just wasn’t there anymore. It would probably be such a weird feeling. She’d probably have more energy now. She would go visit some friends. Get back into the things that she loved. I’m sure she had passions and things that she loved that she was finally able to enjoy. She was able to rest well at night. She was able to finally live for the first time in 12 years I’m sure.
Maybe as she got close to dying, hopefully years later, she would be sitting in her chair, and just pondering on her life. And she would always come back to that moment. The moment when she was healed by this miracle worker. How her life had changed after that. What she was able to do and accomplish. Granted, this is all speculation, but who knows. The only thing we do know is that moment of Jesus was imprinted on her for the rest of her life.
Lastly, what about that ruler of the synagogue, Jairus, whose daughter was deathly ill. Who came to Jesus because he also knew Jesus’s power: “Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” So he leads Jesus to his home, but upon arrival, his daughter has been pronounced dead. The response to Jesus was that they didn’t want to trouble him for anything else, and basically thanks for trying to get here in time. Jesus responds “Do not fear, only believe.” Jesus heads into the house, and there are many people there, crying and weeping, and he says basically why are you freaking out? This girl is not dead, but asleep. They in turn laugh at him. This guy must be nuts. Can’t tell a dead girl from a sleeping girl. This girl is definitely dead.
Jesus though proceeds into the house, leaving the mockers outside. He brings with him the girl’s mother and father, and his disciples. Purposeful. “I want y’all here to see what I’m about to do.” So they go in, and Jesus tells the girl to get up. And she gets up! And they were immediately overcome with amazement. Jesus tells the parents to feed the girl, and to not tell anyone and he leaves.
Can you imagine? The little girl being like “what happened?” And the parents being like you were dead, but Jesus brought you back to life. That girl was probably like wait, what? Just imagine the joy of these parents. Their 12 year old was dead, and now she was alive, and they were making her something to eat. As she’s eating, they are probably looking at her, tears rolling down their face. How is this even possible? The mom and dad got their daughter back. They got years back with their daughter that they would have lost. Maybe this encouraged the parents to be more present with their daughter. Maybe the daughter grew up, and shared many amazing memories with her family that she would not have shared otherwise.
Jesus was purposeful in bringing the mother and father into the room to witness. The mother, father, daughter, and disciples would be great impacted by what they saw. Jesus was continuing to pull back the curtain on who He was and what He came to do. This family, however long they were together, would be reminded of that day when Jesus changed their lives. They would have an imprint of Jesus, a reminder of His love, hope, and grace towards them.
While most of this post was speculative, I do truly believe we get to see actual evidences of how God has truly imprinted Himself onto our very lives. Just look at the whole of the Bible. We have stories of people who encountered God and were changed forever. In our world today, we all have people that we know who have been saved and changed. Who have encountered God and how that has changed their lives forever. I have had friends that were saved from drugs, saved from doubts, saved from addictions, saved from hurts, and saved from idols.
Me and my family have Jesus imprinted on our stories as well. Meeting us in the darkness and bringing us hope. Saving me from the hopelessness and despair that I experienced on January 6th, 2012, and changing me fully and completely. The reverberating affect that that had on my family, and the families around us. The ways in which God has allowed me to be apart of the imprints of Him on others.
I think what we do with our imprints is important. God met us in powerful ways. In darkness. In hopelessness. In fears. In doubts. In our wanderings. He brought us to Himself.
So how will we respond to that? How will we live our lives in response to how Jesus has imprinted and impacted us?
I think first we must respond in worship. Adoration. Humility. We must realize, that just like the others in that crowd on that day, that not everyone was chosen to be healed and to be saved. If we were, we must rejoice, for God ultimately brought us to Himself, and opened our eyes to our need for Himself and for the Gospel. He initiated the work of salvation in us.
We must also be ambassadors of the imprint Jesus has placed on us. We were chosen, and imprinted by Jesus for a reason. To tell others. To share our stories. Our before and after. Our ins and outs. How Jesus has changed us, and how He is leading us closer to Him.
If we are believers, a true miracle of the heart has happened. A miracle of changing a rebel into a son. A foreigner into an heir. Let us rejoice in the ways that Jesus has dwelt in our lives to show us what true life is really all about. Thank Jesus that He has left an imprint on our lives. May we rejoice in this and be glad!