“Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.’ So the man went away and began to tell the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.” Mark 5:19-20
The Gospel is filled with account after account of Jesus performing miracles throughout Jerusalem and Galilee. We read stories of the blind being able to see, the paralyzed getting up and walking, the mute being able to speak, and those in bondage by demons being freed and walking forward in freedom. Following each miracle, Jesus would often instruct those that were healed to “not make it known” (Matt 12:16) or “see that no one knows” (Matt 9:30). However, in this specific passage of Mark, Jesus’s response is different. In Mark chapter 5, Mark writes about the demon-possessed man. He cannot be restrained or subdued, and he walks around the tombs and hillsides crying out and hurting himself. Jesus identifies the unclean spirit and casts the demon into a large herd of pigs, which draws the attention of the people in the town and surrounding area. In Mark 5:15, the people can see the radical transformation of the demon-possessed man sitting there “dressed in his right mind; and they were afraid.” The town couldn’t comprehend the man’s radical transformation and instead began to plead with Jesus to leave (Mark 5:17). The man begged to be able to follow Jesus as he was getting in the boat. However, Jesus’s response was contrary to previous responses. He didn’t let the man follow Him. He commanded him to “Go home…tell them how much the Lord has done for you!”
Reading this, you might think that Jesus’s response is sharp. If you were the man whose life was radically changed, you would want to follow the person who just turned your life around. And when you ask to follow that person, and they say no, well, that can sting. However, here are two insights from Jesus’s instruction to the man. First, when Jesus instructed the man to return to his people, that was most likely the biggest challenge. The man would return to a town whose memory of his past self was strongly etched in their perspective. He wouldn’t be able to hide out among the hills anymore, and he didn’t necessarily get to have a fresh start. How many of us have people in our lives who remember who we were before Jesus transformed us? Most likely, many of us! Don’t let the fear of what others might think of the change in your heart keep you from returning to those people or places to share what God has done in your life!
Second, when Jesus instructed the man to return to his people, he obeyed and returned home. He didn’t just return to tell just one or two people. He began to tell the entire surrounding area! To top it off, the people’s response wasn’t one of skepticism, critique, or fear. Scripture says that they were amazed! How often do we see the evidence of God moving in our lives and yet are nervous to tell others about it for fear of the same things the man might have experienced when he went home? Christine Cain says, “God is able to take the mess of our past and turn it into a message. He takes the trials and tests and turns them into a testimony.” Each of our lives is a testament to how God still performs miracles today! So, when was the last time you told your story to someone? Don’t let comparison, fear, or rejection keep you from sharing the goodness of God. You might just be like the man who amazed the people by sharing what Jesus did.
Personal Prayer Focus
As you go into today, be open to noticing the ways that God is actively answering or healing things in your life. Pray for the bravery and willingness to be open to the opportunity to share with those around you! How God is impacting you could be a seed planted in someone else’s heart of how God can impact them right where they are.
West Ridge Church Prayer Focus
At West Ridge Church, we believe community is integral to becoming a fully devoted follower of Jesus. Not only do we need it, but God calls us to it. During this season, we are celebrating Group Launch as our new and existing groups kick-off another semester of ministry. In light of this, we want to spend today praying over all of our groups and Group Leaders asking the Lord to accomplish His will in their lives in and through biblical community.