This past weekend, we took a look at a strange, challenging, but ultimately incredibly transformative story in Mark 5.
In the story, we meet a man who is demon possessed and in terrible pain and anguish. Jesus sees the man and frees him. Because the presence and power of Jesus brings liberation.
The story has many interesting details, twists and turns. But there is one detail that we focused on, one that is often missed. The story ends with the man who was demon-possessed being freed, whole, and healed.
But the townspeople around the man are not happy with Jesus. In the process of healing the man, Jesus sends the demons into pigs who then run into the sea and die. This obviously wrecks the local economy, which causes the people to try to get rid of Jesus.
So Jesus goes to leave, and the man whom he has healed asks to go with him. He wants to learn. He wants to grow. He wants to be a disciple. And Jesus does something incredibly interesting…he says, “No”.
He says “No”! He denies the man’s request, because Jesus has a different plan for him. He says to him instead, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.”
He tells the man to go home and simply share his story. That’s Jesus’ instruction to him essentially. Go and share your story. Go and share the mercy God has shown you.
And, we read that the man goes home, to the region of the 10 Towns. And that’s the interesting detail we so often miss. Because Mark later in chapter 7 tells us that Jesus goes back to that region. And, rather than the people being angry, distant and cold to Jesus the text tells us that approximately 10,000 people showed up to see Him.
The point is that this man’s story changes lives, and makes people interested in Jesus. Because stories change lives. Stories change people.
And this man with his ONE story, his ONE encounter, his ONE moment with Jesus brings about change in a region because he was willing to share it.
So this past weekend, we simply landed on this challenge: to go and share your story. To share your story with someone. To be like the man in the story sharing his mercy that God has shown him. Because sharing your story changes lives.