And all were amazed. 

Have you ever noticed how many TV commercials use a before-and-after strategy to show how well a product works? Once the actors witness the difference the product has made, whether it be whiter laundry or softer skin, they are amazed!

Sometimes the Gospel writers use a similar approach. In today’s passage, we meet a man who had experienced years of devastating demonic torment. But after encountering Jesus for just a few minutes, he was set free and restored to his right mind. Mark tells us that “all were amazed” (5:20). What a great before-and-after story!

These kinds of stories seem to happen whenever people encounter Jesus in the Gospels. It might be a story of restoration, like the story of the man in today’s reading. It might be a different kind of change, such as when a person sees the error of his ways and repents, as in the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). Or it could be a physical change, like the hemorrhaging woman who found healing just by touching Jesus’ garment (Mark 5:25-34).

The good news is that these stories don’t just happen in the Gospels. They have continued throughout history, and they still happen today! When people experience the touch of Jesus, they are changed. Sometimes the change is almost instantaneous, and at other times, it is more gradual but no less real.

What about you? What is your before-and-after story? Maybe you had a dramatic encounter with the Lord as a young person, and it caused you to make some very different decisions for your life. Maybe yours is a story of the Lord’s more subtle work over many years. If so, it’s still a demonstration of God’s action in your life and a testimony of his love to everyone around you.

Today, imagine that you have one minute of commercial time. Try to tell your before-and-after story. It could be something that happened years ago, or it could be something much more recent. Whatever it is, let it move you to praise the Lord. Let it also give you confidence that the Lord has more before-and-after stories planned for you. That’s because he never stops working in each one of our lives. And that, in itself, is amazing!

“Lord, thank you for the story of your love for me.”

Hebrews 11:32-40
Psalm 31:20-24
Mark 5:1-20


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