Nick Whittome

Is your life a ‘living sermon’?

MPower’s Nick Whittome looks at what can happen when even the smallest seed is sown

A remarkable sequence unfolds in Mark’s Gospel, in which teaching about some seed and the stilling of a storm prefigure the transformation of a person into a ‘living sermon’ delivering a huge spiritual yield. Mark sets it up with the parable of the sower (Mark 4:3-20), in which Jesus describes different soil conditions and the potential hindrances to seeds turning into a harvest.

Then he talks about light being put on a stand (Mark 4:21-23), explaining that, ‘whatever is concealed is meant to be brought into the open’.

Jesus builds on the notion of something truly taking root and becoming fruitful in the parable of the mustard seed (Mark 4:30- 34) which, despite being ‘the smallest of all seeds on earth’ grows to become one of the largest of plants.

Immediately after this, Jesus invites his disciples across to the other side of the lake, to the region of the Gerasenes. While they are out on the water a furious squall arises, the disciples fear for their lives and Jesus has to rebuke the wind and the waves to calm them down.

It is upon arrival in the region of the Gerasenes that these ideas of seed and storm are combined, in the person of the man of the Gerasenes who was possessed by demons who together were ‘Legion’.

These demons have wreaked a spiritual storm in this man’s life for so long that everyone has given up on him. Surely this person has to represent the tiniest seed, the last-ever person we would pick to become an effective evangelist – and yet Jesus sees possibility in him.

Jesus rebukes the demons, they are banished into the pigs and the transformative light of the kingdom is placed on its stand. The man begs to follow Jesus but remarkably Jesus says no. He sends the man, now dressed and in his right mind, to amaze those living in the vicinity of the Decapolis with ‘what the Lord has done for him’.

Faith across the region begins to take root through this tiniest and most unlikely of ‘seed’ persons – in the form of stunning curiosity. One can only imagine conversations like: “Who on earth could have achieved such changes in someone who used to cut himself with stones and rip himself free from iron shackles?”

Later Jesus returns to the Decapolis (Mark 7:31), and following a further healing miracle (Mark 7:32-35), 4,000 people show up to hear the gospel (Mark 8:1), surely the fruit of the Gerasene man’s incredible testimony.

Jesus can calm all storms – physical and spiritual. Is your life a living sermon, summoning the curious to find out more about the Lord?

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