Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
“Before” and “after” pictures are often used to show the difference that something can make. Often these photos can be manipulated to make the change appear more extreme, all in an effort to get people to buy a certain product. But usually these things that seem too good to be true really are just that. But there is someone who really can make a big difference in our lives, and it’s not just a trick or an illusion. The difference Jesus makes is significant, and the changes He brings about in us are genuine, and the result is noticeable.
We may view the man called the maniac of Gadara as an extreme case, but really he is an accurate depiction of people without Christ, people under the control of Satan, people trapped in their sin, which we all once were. And he is therefore an excellent example of the difference that Jesus can make in a person’s life. Because when we come to know Jesus and the chains of sin have been broken and Satan’s power over us has been defeated, we find ourselves in a new place—at the feet of Jesus. And there is no better place to be, for there we find our peace and we learn of Him and we find fulfillment. We exchange the tombs and the deadness of our former lives for the new life we find in Christ.
We also find ourselves with a new outfit. We once wandered naked and exposed through a world of sin, but Jesus clothes us in His own righteousness. We exchange our blackened, sin-stained robes for the spotless white ones that He gives to us. We wear the clothes that identify us as one of Jesus’ own, bought and paid for with His blood. Gone is the shame that we used to wear, the guilt and the heavy burden of it, replaced by hope and peace in Him.
Finally, we find ourselves with a new mind. Looking to Jesus puts us in the right frame of mind. Keeping our minds on Him aligns our hearts with His and enables us to follow His ways. Gone are the days of senseless wandering, evil thoughts, selfish desires, and a mind bent on sinning, replaced by the proper focus, purpose and pursuit. All that we were before Christ has been washed away, and the before and after should show a stark difference, perhaps even a shocking difference. The people who knew the so-called maniac were frightened by the change in him, but surely he himself was grateful to be made new and whole in Christ. May we allow Jesus to do the same for us.