The Man Who Lived in a Graveyard
By Dell Smith Klein
Have you ever been to a scary movie? A movie where someone did something frightening––and you could feel your heart beating in your chest––and you began to wish you hadn’t watched the movie at all? (Give children an opportunity to respond.) Yes, I’ve done that, too! I’ve watched scary movies, and ending up wishing that I had not seen them.
Movies like that sometimes give us bad dreams. The story I’m thinking about today is a little bit like that. It’s a very strange story. You may even feel like you are watching a horror movie as you listen. But Jesus is in this story, so you know everything will turn out all right.
Jesus and his friends were in a boat and when they arrived at a certain place, Jesus stepped off the boat onto the shore. This spot was very different from other places where Jesus had taught. He and his friends could see the town nearby, but the place they got off the boat was a cemetery, a graveyard with tombs and graves scattered along the way.
Suddenly, they heard a loud noise of clanking chains, and the angry voice of a man screaming and shouting at Jesus. The man had no clothing and was homeless. He was living in the cemetery.
Now if you were watching a horror movie, you might expect the hero of the movie to get rid of the screaming man. That isn’t what Jesus did! Jesus began to talk to the homeless man. He asked the man his name, and before very long the man was standing with Jesus and his mind was healed, and all the things that troubled him were gone.
People came from the town and found the man standing there––bathed and wearing clothing. His hair was clean and combed. His eyes were clear and the people could see that the man was in his right mind. Jesus had made him well. The man sat at Jesus’ feet, and Jesus taught him about God’s love.
Before long, it was time for Jesus and his friends to get back into the boat and go on to another place. The man whom Jesus had healed begged to go with Jesus on the boat. But Jesus told the man to stay in his hometown, so that he might “declare what great things God has done for (him).” The man started that very day telling his hometown people what wonderful things Jesus had done for him.
See, I told you everything would turn out right. The man was healed and never again had to live in a cemetery. He was well and strong.
Jesus wanted the man to tell others what God had done for him. He wants us to tell others what God has done for us. What has God done for you? (Allow children to respond). Maybe he brought your lost dog home. Maybe he helped you to find your lost bike. Maybe you were very sick and God made you well.
PRAYER: Thank you, God, for healing that man’s mind so he didn’t have to live in a graveyard any more. And thank you for all the things you have done and are doing for us. Amen.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2014, Richard Niell Donovan