…and by the Word of his testimony
In the last entry we covered Matt’s account of the men possessed with a whole mess of demons. It’s found in Matt 8:28-34. If you have not read that entry then stop right now and read Legion Pt. 1. Ok go. . .hey, you haven’t read it all, go back and finish reading. Are you all caught up now? Ok, whatever.
Here’s a quick review of Legion Pt.1:
1. Jesus and crew showed up ashore minding their own business.
2. Two men possessed with a whole mess of demons start yelling about Jesus being the Son of God.
3. The demons want to make some pigs fly.
4. Faith was not denied--ah, if you read part 1 then you would know what I’m talking about.
Matt doesn’t tell us what happens to these to guys after they were delivered, but Mark does. So below is Matt’s record again and the part of Mark’s record that finishes the story.
28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whol town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 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.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
There are so many things to cover here but I’m just going to focus in on one thing--ONE BIG THING. That one big thing could be about the pig issue. A lot of gentiles lived on this side of the lake; but still this was the land of Israel and there was this strict no-pork rule.*
Or, that one big thing could be about how the locals wanted Jesus to split after He freed up these two possessed dudes. That just seems crazy to me, but they got theirs, you’ll see.
Or, that one big thing could be how the two guys obeyed Jesus and stayed where they were at. Hey, that’s it! That is the ONE BIG THING and it truly is BIG.
In Legion Pt. 1 I covered the subject of two versus one. Again, if you have not read Pt. 1 then go back and read it already. Mark 5:18 states that the guy wanted to follow Jesus into the boat. The other guy must have jetted, maybe that’s why Mark only recorded one. Mark 5:19 say’s “Jesus did not let him.” I could just stop and preach on that for a minute...pressing on. Jesus told this guy to “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.” Mark finishes the story in verse 20 stating “So the man went away and began to tell in Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.” The same people that he used to terrorize, the same people that pleaded with Jesus to leave their area. Decapolis was a group of about 10 to 18 cities that included Gerasenes and Gadarenes. So this guy did not just tell his story in Gerasenes or Gadarenes, he went throughout the whole area spreading The Word. The Word was: “I was a BIG MESS until I met Jesus on the beach.” What do you think the result of this guy’s message was? How did the people react? Remember Matt 8:34 states “Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.” But when this guy starts giving his testimony Mark 5:20 states “And all the people were amazed.” The Amp Bible translates 5:20 this way: “the people were astonished and marveled.” This is how astonished and marveled they were; the next time Jesus came to the area of Decapolis they hung onto Jesus’ every word. Jesus had to do a quick food multiplication miracle to feed 4000 of them because they didn’t want to stop to eat. They didn’t want to miss one word that Jesus was sharing. Why? I believe it goes back to this guy. He actually obeyed what Jesus said. He went back to his own people and told them all what the Lord had done so the next time Jesus showed up in the region the people didn’t beg him to leave; instead they wanted to stay close by Him. The result of this once demon possessed guy sharing his testimony didn’t stop with just the feeding of the 4000, this area became known as a Christian hub.
The end question.
So, why do you want to be healed? Relieved of pain? I get that. But what are you going to do with your testimony? Keep it to yourself? Rev. 12:11 says “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” This guy set Decapolis on fire by the word of his testimony. Both Mark 8 and Matt 15 record the feeding of the 4000 but I don’t think it was just 4000. The New Testament writers had this habit of just counting the men, so the number could have been as much as 12,000, maybe higher. This is what we know: the Decapolis area was never the same after this guy/guys were delivered. Are you going to leave you area unchanged after your healing?
Stay blessed y’all; it’s you choice.
*One theologian stated that as much as $250,000 worth of pork jumped off the cliff that day.