Posted by: mikenicholsblog | February 2, 2017

tell your story!

For more than fifty years, I have read the account of Jesus, the demon-possessed man and a large herd of pigs. What a fascinating story! What a great picture of God’s power over Satan! Can you imagine the scene as the men were released from demon possession and the evil spirits entered the pigs?! None of us can even fathom a large herd of pigs rushing down a steep bank into a lake and drowning … but it happened. I am sure that in my years of reading this account, I have gained some knowledge and understanding of the healing power and compassion of Jesus. My thoughts centered on the demon-possessed man, the pigs and the demons, but not much more. Sometimes, if you are anything like me, reading Scripture becomes more about the process and less about gleaning great principles for life. It is easy to focus on the facts of Scripture, and miss great lessons. Contained within the story of two men possessed by demons and a pig stampede was an incredible life lesson for today, and I missed it for years. Maybe you have too!

To set the context, Jesus gets out of a boat and is confronted by the two demon-possessed men (Matthew’s gospel mentions two). The account of this story in the book of Luke (where we have been reading this week) focused on one of the two men.  These men lived in tombs, were naked, violent, and controlled by a legion of demons. The gospel of Mark (which also focuses on just one of the men) conveys that he was so strong that he tore off the chains that held him. Picture the scene as he would cry out and cut himself with stones. We have all encountered people who gave us a sense of uneasiness and even fear. But I don’t think any of us have come upon a scene quite like this one.

The legion of demons that controlled the men asked Jesus to send them into the pigs. Jesus obliged, and the pig stampede began.  The large herd plunged down a hillside into the lake and were drowned. Once the evil spirits left them, we find the one healed demonic sitting dressed and in his right mind. He was a new creation! But there is more to the story. After the event, people pleaded with Jesus to leave. As Jesus was getting in the boat, the converted (I believe), healed demon-possessed man asked to go along. Jesus wouldn’t allow it, but His instructions were words that every believer should follow … and I missed them all these years.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the demon-delivered man begged to go along, but he wouldn’t let him. Jesus said, “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.” The man went back and began to preach in the Ten Towns area about what Jesus had done for him. He was the talk of the town.
Mark 5:18-20 (MSG)

Think about the life change for this once scary creature. But the healing hand of God changed everything. When you and I came to faith in Christ, everything changed for us. On this side of eternity, the most important decision in our lives was when we went from darkness to light, and became new creations in Christ Jesus. However, Christians often shy away from sharing their story and spiritual heritage with those they love. Jesus’ words to the healed demonic are very relevant today. We, like him, should tell our story. Why did Jesus tell him to share what happened? Because Jesus wanted others to hear of His mercy!  And who, apart from Jesus himself, would tell the story better than the one who had been loosed from demonic bondage and forever freed and healed?

So here is the challenge:  If you are in Christ, who needs to hear what He has done for you? Will you pray for them, and if Christ opens a door of opportunity, will you share your story? It’s easy to make excuses, but if Christ is your Savior don’t be afraid to tell your story. After all, it is authored by God and is your spiritual birthright. Your journey may not be as exciting as a pig stampede, but it’s yours, and it can be used by God in the lives of others.

I missed the life lesson for years … don’t miss your chance to tell your story!

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