Today I’ve been discussing the scriptures with my nearly 70 year old friend, Vern…Adam and Eve, Ananias and Saphira, the resurrection, the road to Emmaus, the resurrection of the saints, the man of the Gaderenes who was set free from Legion. Quite the conversation.
As we talked about that last one, the man who was set completely free, something occurred to me. His instinct was to cling to the one who set him free. He literally begged Jesus to let him follow him as he left.
“As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him.”
Mark 5:18 NLT
Who can blame him? I would too! I’d never want to leave Jesus’s side after that miraculous moment.
But Jesus had a superior idea. Doesn’t he always.
“But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.””
Mark 5:19 NLT
His devotion to his Savior would not be shown by simply following him around, as admirable and understandable as that may seem.
The better idea was for this healed man to go home. It was to tell the people who knew him before, even in the face of disbelief, what had just happened. It was to proclaim to old friends, mockers, family and townsmen the outrageous mercy of a man like no other man – this man called Jesus.
I also see Jesus saying the same thing in John 4 to the Samaritan woman as he sat there with her by a well.
“The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone…So the people came streaming from the village to see him.”
John 4:28, 30 NLT
What does it mean to follow him today? Like the man set free of his demons and the woman set free of her shame, we don’t have the privilege of following him around physically from place to place. But remember this: later, he said, “it is better that I go, so that the comforter can come”. It is better for us, he said, because we have the gift of his comforting, guiding, convicting and sweet Spirit…24/7. And it is BECAUSE we possess this gift in us, we can truly follow him.
As we spend peaceful pockets of time with him in secret places, bursts of worship, or as we dive into the sacred and ancient text…we are filled with his truth and revelation. And then we have the opportunity – no, commission – to GO.
Go and tell your old friends, mockers, family, the downtrodden dredging about your town. GO and tell even those whose bony fingers and cutting slander pointed your way. Tell as many as you can, of all that Jesus has done for you. Look to recent events. Don’t just pull the biggest miracle from the timeline of your existence and tell of that…expand it! A recent testimony will bring a depth of vulnerability and relevance, and will have more impact than you can imagine.
What did he do THIS WEEK?! This month?
HOW was he merciful to you?
WHAT did he free you from?
Take a few moments, pray and inventory this last week or month. Jot down what you got, then shoot a video, write a post or simply go out and tell it to anyone and everyone. The personal (your own) first-hand story of redemption will boost belief in the hearers. I promise. It may not be evident in the seen realm, but keep doing it. It is what is revealed I the unseen that truly matters.
To tell is not to follow. But I’m beginning to think one cannot truly be a follower without a consistent, uncensored personal telling of the goodness and mercy of this man