Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Lesson in Testimony

Mark chapter 5 recounts one of the most memorable miracles of Jesus. Jesus and his disciples had just gotten off a boat in the country of the Gerasenes, and a man approaches them. The man is possessed by demons, who call themselves Legion, because there were so many of them. Apparently the demons made the man extremely strong and violent, and he was unable to be bound by chains, and was often seen hurting himself.

Anyway, when the demons see Jesus, they recognize him! The spirit says to Jesus, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?" Jesus commands the unclean spirit to leave the man, sending Legion into a herd of pigs when the spirit requested not to be sent out of the country. The herd of pigs immediately runs off of a cliff and into the sea! Needless to say, people were amazed when they saw this happen (or later, when the swineherds returned to town and recounted the day's events).

Everyone in town came to see for themselves what had happened, and what they found was the (former) demoniac sitting clothed, and in his right mind. The people were afraid and begged Jesus to leave town. So he did. The man who had been possessed by demons begged Jesus to let him come along with them. But Jesus refuses. Instead he says to him, 

"Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you." (Mark 5:19)

Sometimes we are just like that demoniac. God does something that radically changes our lives, and naturally, our desire is to just stay with him, basking in his presence. But like the demoniac, Jesus calls us to also go back, and tell others how much the Lord has done for us. We are called to testify of God's mercy towards us. We are called to show the light of his grace; because like the people in that man's country, other people in our lives may have never experienced Jesus firsthand.

And this is a hard thing to do. I'm pretty sure that it must have been awkward (at the very least) for the man who used to be violently possessed by demons to calmly walk up to his friends after such a long time. For us, it is sometimes quite difficult to testify to the people who have seen us at our absolute worst because while we remember how great it was to be changed by God, they didn't see it happen, they only remember us as we used to be.

But like that man, released from the hold of Legion, go, proclaim how much Jesus has done for you! People will be amazed.

Be blessed and go let your light shine!

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A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23