18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 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.” 20 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.
I was thinking more about this story on the weekend. It ended up providing the theme for the Teen cell that I was leading out on Friday night. The theme for the month has been around the idea of “release”, being sent out to spread the good news of the Kingdom. I know growing up in the Church, I have often encountered the concept that, to truly give our lives to work for God, to answer His call, we have to become pastors or go overseas for mission. This example from the ministry of Jesus dismisses that notion (not that it is not important to do these things as well).
The call of Jesus in the life of the demon-possessed man echoes His call in the Great Commission by starting with the command, “Go!” And I don’t think the call has changed in 2000 years. We must still go. But the question is, where too?
The demon-possessed man wants to follow Jesus on His ministry. But Jesus has a different job for Him—to go home and tell his own people. Who are his people? His family, his workmates, his local business owners, his neighbours, to take Jesus to those he has grown up with and live around him. His message was simple—what the Lord had done for him. He didn’t have a theology degree or a doctorate of philosophy. He just had an encounter with Jesus that changed his life. We are all called to go but we don’t need to go far. We don’t need to go anywhere but we must take Jesus with us when we go.
For the teens, I used an example of spilling the packet of round lollies we had on the table. They would spread to all corners. If I left them in the packet, they wouldn’t go anywhere. If we follow Jesus, with everyone else who is following Jesus, we will stay in the packet and we will not impact the world. If we take Jesus with us wherever we spread, He will be spread across the Earth. That is what we are called to do.
Have you had a life-changing experience with Jesus? We all need to have had Jesus change our lives. And when He has, that is our message. The demon-possessed man told everyone he knew and even those he didn’t. And all the people were amazed.