Faculty member Dr. Ben Gutierrez speaks at Wednesday’s convocation
During Liberty University’s final convocation before fall break, Dr. Ben Gutierrez challenged students to be a light of hope as they traveled back home. The Liberty alumnus and Dean of Religion for the Distance Learning Program referenced two accounts from the Gospel of Mark, showing how Jesus Christ reached out to those who knew nothing about Him.
Shortly after Jesus fed the 5,000, He and His disciples traveled to the area of Decapolis — a land where its inhabitants were consumed in pagan practices. While there, He ministered to a crowd of 4,000 and fed them by performing a miracle with seven loaves of bread and a few fish.
“(Jesus) goes to the darkest, deepest, carnal place in His world and He satisfies them,” Gutierrez said. “No matter who you are, if you want God’s righteousness … all you have to do is ask Him. He won’t just give you a sample of his goodness. He will literally fill you up and give you hope inside.”
Two years prior to the miracle, Jesus visited the same region and came across a demon possessed man — the most outcast human being in Decapolis. After driving the legion of demons from the man and placing them in a herd of pigs, citizens of the land became furious with the Messiah. As He began to return home, the man asked Jesus if he could go with Him.
Jesus responded by saying, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you.”
In the closing moments of his message, Gutierrez issued the same words of encouragement to students, challenging them to go home and tell others of what the Lord has done in their lives.
“You can be that changed life,” he said. “Go home and tell your friends of what the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you.”