The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke each tell the story of one of Jesus’ miracles, one of the first (if not the first) that He performed in a Gentile area. Jesus and His disciples had gone to the opposite side of the Sea of Galilee, to a region called the Gerasenes (or “Gadarenes,” according to Matthew 8:28). Here, they met a demon-possessed man who lived among the tombs. Filled with supernatural strength and rage, he could not be contained; if people put him in chains, the man would simply break them. However, while chains could not bind the man who was bound by demons, Jesus came to set him free. The demons left him and entered a herd of pigs, who drowned themselves in the sea.
“And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled” (Mark 5:17–20; all Scripture quotations from the English Standard Version).
It is hard to blame the man for wanting to follow Jesus. For years, he had lived in bondage to forces he could not see or understand. Family and neighbors must have feared him. The man was now known as “Legion” because of the many unclean spirits that controlled him. Perhaps Jesus had been the first person in years to seek him, to not be afraid of him, and to offer him liberty. Why would he not follow Jesus? What did he have back in the Gerasenes? At this point in his life, perhaps all he could find that was worth living for was this man who had cast the demons out of him.
Instead of inviting the man to follow Him, Jesus told him to return home with a simple message, entitled “What God has done for me.”
He was not called to follow Jesus like the 12 disciples, spending entire days with Him, hearing all He had to teach them. Jesus did not send Legion to seminary for more training.
Jesus did not send Legion into full-time ministry. He would have to return home, to his family and his old career.
He was sent with a simple message, “This is what God has done for me! Have you heard about what Jesus did for me!”
Let us get back to basics. We need to share our testimony. Like Legion, we need to tell others what God has done for us. We do not need a complicated message. We do not need extensive training. God has done something for each of us. What has He done in your life? That is your message.
It is tempting to come up with something more complicated. An elaborate explanation of a Biblical theme might make us feel smart, but it will not feed the souls of the lost. Arguing why my church is the correct one and everybody should worship with me and stay away from that other church will not point people to the Savior.
Jesus did not tell Legion to go home and begin arguing about politics or ranting about everybody else’s sins. He has not called us to do those things either. He sent Legion to preach “What God has done for me.” He is calling us to share that message too.
What has Jesus done for you? What was your life like before He gained control of your life? How has it changed since then? Has He healed you of a serious illness? Has He delivered you from a bad habit or a life-controlling addiction?
Think about your life. You have a testimony, and it is uniquely your own. Jesus has done something for you, and He can do it to the people you know and meet. People might be able to argue with your logic or criticize your eloquence. However, they are looking for hope, peace, joy, and comfort.
Many are looking for a way out of the mess they have made of their lives. Your testimony about what God has done for you may offer them the answer they really need. What has Jesus done for you? Somebody needs the same blessing you received. Let them know Who can heal, restore, forgive, and revive them.
Copyright © 2020 Michael E. Lynch. All rights reserved.