When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man – and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘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 in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. Mark 5:15-20 (NIV)
Mark records an incident where Jesus heals a man who was demon-possessed. As with many of his miracles, it produces very different reactions in those who witnessed the miracle, or were told about it.
Mark tells us that when the man was healed, those who had seen it went into the nearby town and told others what had happened. The reaction of these people was that they pleaded with Jesus to leave their region. They knew Jesus had healed the man, but they weren’t prepared to let him stay. It may have been the economic loss of the herd of pigs that made them want Jesus to leave. However, it is also likely that Jesus’ miracle produced a negative reaction in them.
Once healed, the man begged (pleaded) with Jesus to let him go with him. Although Jesus could have allowed the man to follow him, he told him to go home and tell those who knew him what God had done. Jesus knew the power of personal witness and the effect this would have on those who knew the man, knew his personal circumstances and would know if what he said was true. The man could have gone home and kept the good news to himself, but he didn’t. The Decapolis mentioned in Mark 5 is a region of ten towns/cities south of the Sea of Galilee, so the man didn’t just tell those in his immediate neighbourhood what had happened to him. It would seem that he wouldn’t (or couldn’t) keep quiet. The reaction of those who heard the man’s personal witness was that they were amazed.
If you’ve ever wondered how you can share your faith, just tell those around you what God has been doing in your life. You don’t have to share a theological argument, you just have to share what God has done for you. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
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