By Jim West, Lead Pastor, Colonial Presbyterian Church, Kansas City, Missouri
Lord, thank you for the life-changing power of your Word. Help me to obey your Word, so that my ways may please you and lead others to you.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had had the demons begged him, “Let me go with you!” But Jesus would not let him. Instead, he told him, “Go back home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how kind he has been to you.”
I love Jesus … a lot. Jesus saved me; Jesus rescued me; Jesus set me free from the tyranny of my sin; Jesus empowers me; Jesus establishes my very identity; Jesus rocks! I look forward to the day when I will be with Jesus every day, all day, for all eternity.
For many believers, the greatest joy in this life is being with Jesus in worship and being in fellowship with other believers. Truth be told, those of us who are a bit older regularly long for the day when we can leave this cold earth and rest in his loving arms. This is why I relate to the Gerasene demoniac whom Jesus set free.
This guy was a tortured soul, to say the least. He was an outcast, totally isolated, and enslaved. When Jesus casts out the legion of demons that had tortured the man, all the demoniac wants to do is be with Jesus for the rest of his life. He has become a fan of Jesus! But note, Jesus isn’t looking for fans; he is looking for witnesses. Jesus isn’t looking for groupies; he’s looking for ambassadors. Thus, Jesus denies the Gerasene’s request to “go with” him. There will be time for that in the life to come. For now Jesus says, “Go back home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how kind he has been to you.”
To love Jesus, to truly express our gratitude for what he has accomplished in bringing us salvation and liberation, is to tell others everything the Lord has done for us. It is to bear witness to the loving, costly mercy of our Father. Too many of us fail to hear this part of the gospel. We express our love for Jesus in many ways, but we fail to do what he says in John 14:15: “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” What did that mean for the Gerasene? It meant telling others about the love and mercy of God. I suspect it means the same for us.
Take a minute and list all the people you have told about the love of Jesus in the past year. Does your list reflect your love for Jesus?
Ask God to show you five more people who need to hear about his love and mercy. Covenant to pray for them every day, and ask the Holy Spirit to provide the occasion and the courage to share your story in the next few weeks.
Jesus, I love you. I want to be with you now and forever, but I know that I have purpose on this earth to bear witness to others. Please show me those in my family and in my community who need to hear the gospel, and give me the courage to tell my story.