I’m a big fan of the show, Sherlock. I love watching Sherlock and John solve impossible crimes together. Some of my favorite parts of the show are the moments where Sherlock is able to tell almost everything there is to know about a person, simply based on their appearance and the clothes that they’re wearing. Sherlock nearly met his match though when he first meets Irene Adler. When she arrives Sherlock is unable to discover anything about her identity because she’s, well…you know.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably not Sherlock Holmes. (If you are, please let me know.) Even if you can’t read people’s life story based on the t-shirt they are wearing, we can all agree that how you dress says a lot about you. Often times you can watch people and notice certain traits about their personality just by what they’re wearing. You may notice if they are rich or poor, from the city or from the country, an athlete or a business man, etc. While this isn’t always true, you know that it is true more times than not. We see men and women in uniform everyday letting us know if they are a police officer or a firefighter. In sports, the uniform tells you who is on each team or in some sports even what position a person is playing. How we dress is important! Not only is it important today, the Bible actually has much to say about how we dress.
“Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind.” – Mark 5:15
Continuing my study on the demon possessed, naked, cutting himself with rocks guy in Mark 5, I noticed something interesting about what Jesus did when He delivered this man – He clothed him. Here are two things that I think happened when Jesus clothed him.
1. He Dealt With the Man’s Shame
The man was naked and Jesus came and clothed him. The man was in his most shameful state and Jesus covered him. If you remember back in Genesis, Adam and Eve eat of the tree of knowledge and the Bible says that they realized they were naked, and they were ashamed. Here is the catch though. Adam and Eve were only able to make fig leaves to cover their shame, but they could not get rid of it. They could only cover it with something else. Also interesting, the fig leave would not be able to cover everything, it would only be able to cover one area at a time. When Jesus meets this man, He not only covers his shame, He removes it entirely. Jesus completely clothed Him.
Another story where Jesus does this again is in John 8. The Pharisees bring Jesus a woman whom they have just caught in the act of adultery. (I wonder how they knew where to find her…) They throw her at Jesus feet and try to get Jesus to stone her. This is a familiar story. Jesus reaches down and writes in the dirt. We don’t know what He wrote, but we do know that He did not reject her. He knelt down and met her there in her shame and makes her whole again.
Some of you may have shame or guilt in your life. Maybe you have tried to cover it with other things. For some people it may be a hobby or a job, or maybe you cover it in relationships. Whatever it is for you, you will eventually break those chains you are using to bind yourself, just like the man in this story. You can continue to try and cover your shame with other things but you will always only be covering it, making you an impostor. Everyone else may be fooled, but you’ll know it is still there. The only way to truly deal with it is to come fall at the feet of the One who fully clothes His people.
2. He Gave the man his Identity Back
If you study the culture in Bible times, in many places people would wear something that identified themselves. Similar to our uniforms today, they would wear something that would let everyone know who they were. Here is an example. In Luke 10, Jesus tells the parable of the good Samaritan. A man is beaten, stripped of his clothing, and left for dead on the side of the road. A Levite, and a priest pass by the man without helping him. If you study this closely, I wonder if the first two men, who were Jewish, would have stopped and helped him if they knew that he was also Jewish? It is possible that they did not help the man because he was naked and they could not identify him as a Jew. Now, this may or may not be the case, but it does make a good point about the man’s clothes identifying him.
Remember Blind Bartimaeus? In Mark 10, Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus and restores his sight. Something very interesting happens first though. In verse 50, the Bible says that Bartimaeus threw aside his garment. You see, Bartimaeus would have worn something that let everyone know he was blind. It was a matter of safety. That way people could look out for him because he wouldn’t be able to see them. Once Jesus calls him, he throws it aside. Why? Because his identity is about to be given back to him. He will know longer be labeled by his disability and dysfunction, he will now only be know as a man who encountered Jesus.
For the demon possessed man, Jesus did not only heal him, He restored him. Jesus clothed the man and restored his identity.
The only place we can find true freedom and true identity is at the feet of Jesus.
Do you notice anything similar about all of the people we have looked at in Scripture over the last three posts. All of them had serious issues going on, and all of them experienced true freedom. Do you know what the one common denominator that I find in these stories? They all found healing at the feet of Jesus. There is no where else that you will find true wholeness. Whether you are struggling or not this week, I challenge you, find time to sit at His feet and worship Him. This is the only place where true transformation can happen.