Go and Tell.
“The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.’ So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.” – Luke 8:38-39 NLT
After the demons left the two demon-possessed men and fled into the herd of pigs, sending them running wildly off the edge of a nearby cliff, that’s when the real action began. The disciples stood amazed and afraid. The herdsmen, who just watched their livelihood get wiped out, took off at a run for town in order to tell everyone what had happened. In no time, Jesus was surrounded by villagers eager to see for themselves what had happened. They wanted to verify that what they had heard was true – the two men (at least according to Matthew’s account) were no longer demon-possessed. These two men had been a fixture in the lives of these people for years. They feared them and stayed as far away from them as possible. Both of the men were more than likely from the nearby village and their neighbors had seen them make the transition from normal, healthy boys to crazed, demon-possessed lunatics living in a graveyard and terrorizing the community.
When the villagers arrived, they found the man who had the many demons and was known as Legion, “sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid” (Luke 8:35 NLT). Not amazed, but afraid. A similar response to that of the disciples when Jesus calmed the sea just a few hours earlier. Luke records that when the disciples had seen Jesus calm the waves and the wind, they “were terrified and amazed” (Luke 8:25 NLT). At the witness of the power of Jesus, the villagers and the disciples reacted in fear and terror. They didn’t know what to do with what they had seen. In this case, the villagers wanted Jesus to leave, “for a great wave of fear swept over them” (Luke 8:37 NLT). Rather than worship, they wanted Him to leave. They wanted life to go back to the way it was before. It didn’t matter that there was a miracle sitting in their midst in the form of two totally healed, demon-free men. They wanted Jesus gone.
But there was at least one individual who reacted in faith and not fear. One of the men who had been healed asked Jesus if he could go with Him. His life had been radically, unalterably changed by an encounter with Jesus, and he wanted to spend the rest of his life serving and following Him. But Jesus denied his request. Instead, He told the man to “go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you” (Luke 8:39 NLT). Jesus made him a missionary to his own people. The area in which this all took place was on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, in a region that was primarily Gentile. So Jesus commissions this man (and more than likely, his companion) to return home and spread the news of what God had done for him. This man had had an encounter with God Himself – in the form of Jesus, the Son of God. Now he was to go and tell what had happened. And he did. Mark tells us, “the man started off to visit the Ten Town of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him, and everyone was amazed at what he told them” (Mark 8:20 NLT). There is no greater tool for proclaiming the power of God than the lips of the one who has experienced that power first-hand. Our testimony of transformation at the hands of God is undeniable and irrefutable. Yes, people can doubt it, but they can’t disprove it. There were probably those who would deny that this man had ever been demon-possessed, but he would always know the truth. His zeal and unwavering knowledge of what had happened to his life would always be there. And the same should be true of us. Our greatest witness of the power of God is what He has done in our own lives. Jesus is telling us to do exactly what He told this man to do: “Go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” Go and tell. Just share what Jesus has done. Give testimony to the fact that you have been and are being transformed by the power of God. And this testimony should be an ongoing and a growing one. Each day, we should have new news to share regarding God’s power in our lives. It is not just about a point in time when we accepted Christ as our Savior. That is just the beginning. Our testimony is a work in progress. God is always doing something in our lives. His power is always available and at work behind the scenes. Sometimes we just don’t see or recognize it. But we must look for it and then tell everyone we meet about it. Go and tell – spread the news of “everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been” (Mark 8:19 NLT).
Father, too often I fail to recognize Your power in my life. And as a result, I fail to tell anyone else about it. First of all, help me to see it. Secondly, help me have the boldness to talk about it to others, regardless of how they might receive it. I want to go and tell more regularly and faithfully. You have done so much for me and shown me so much mercy over the years. I have a story to tell that is growing with each passing day. May I begin to tell it to all with whom I come into contact. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men