There was a man possessed with demons, living in the catacombs where he howled and cut himself with stones. He could not be subdued as he had broken chains and shackles. As Jesus approached, the demons cried:
“What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” Mark 5:7-8 – NIV
They begged Jesus not to send them into the abyss, but into a herd of pigs, who subsequently ran off the cliff and drowned themselves. This is the story I’ve known, the demons proclaiming Jesus as the Son of the Most High, and Jesus with the authority to command them out. Yet what has escaped me is what happened next:
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. Mark 5:18-20
Some who received Jesus’ healing power were told to say nothing, some were told to show the priests, others were told to tell everyone. Perhaps it was due to timing, location, or the person’s station, but they all seemed to have the same effect. The word spread quickly. Yet, this man asked to climb in the boat, to sit at Jesus’s feet and Jesus sent him away. Jesus knew the impact this man could have among his family and community.
I would have been one who wanted in the boat, who ate with the 5,000, maybe even stepping out of the boat only to sink below the crashing waves. But could I have walked with Him through the desert? All but John were martyred while proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah. Could the demon-possessed man have walked that road? Could I have walked it? Only Jesus knows the path He has laid before us and what trials we are to face.
The cleansed man, though surely dejected, went as he was instructed and told everyone. Though we would like to ride in the boat or scream from mountaintops, we must go as we are led and tell the good news to all that God places in our path.
I too have been set free from shackles and demons by the Power of Jesus. This I know. He is alive and longs to dwell within each of us. Hallelujah!
If these words have been a blessing, pass them along to another who needs to hear. Reach out to me at John@LiftedKeys.com and tell me your story. I would love to know where and in what way God has guided His words through my pen.