Prepare to listen. Sit still, take a few deep breaths then pray: Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. (Psalm 25:4)
Read Mark 5:14-20
14 The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. 17 Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighbourhood. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 But Jesus refused, and said 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.’ 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.
We don’t know why Jesus crossed over into Gentile territory. We do know that only one person benefited from his journey. The dramatic story, told by the swineherds to city and country folk alike, got their attention. They rushed out of the towns to see Jesus for themselves. They saw, and surely marveled, the madman, who once roamed naked and out-of-control in the graveyard, calmly sitting with Jesus, ‘clothed and in his right mind.’ But, instead of rejoicing, the people ‘were afraid.’ I wonder what made them afraid.
Fear kept them from talking to Jesus or even Legion. They never heard the story from those directly involved in it. Fear made them listen only to the swineherds who’d run into the city to tell them of the devastating loss of pigs. They knew what Jesus did to the pigs, but they didn’t know what Jesus did for Legion. The townspeople could have learned the truth first-hand; they could have joined the man who once had the legion of demons, and sit at Jesus’ feet. Instead, they stuck to the second-hand story and fearfully ‘began to beg Jesus to leave their neighbourhood.’ I suppose their fear is understandable. Jesus’ power was awesome, and it wasn’t used to their advantage. I mean, Jesus destroyed their means of livelihood. No wonder they wanted him to leave their region. What else might he do?
Without saying a word, Jesus got back into the boat with his disciples. The healed man ‘begged him that he might be with him.’ He’d sat at Jesus’ feet; he’d heard Jesus speak directly to him. Of course he wanted to go with him. When Jesus sent him back home to tell others, he was willing and went all over the Decapolis (the name of that mostly Gentile area), proclaiming Jesus and people were amazed.
What will it take for you to spend more time sitting at Jesus’ feet, learning from him so that you can go and tell others?
Respond to Jesus in prayer
Lord Jesus, like the former demon-possessed man, I too would like to sit at your feet and learn from you. I also know that you desire that I proclaim how much you have done. Give me courage to live obediently and proclaim you as Legion of old did. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world where Jesus desires to be made known.