Testimony (Mark 5:20)

And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.

Mark 5:20

The story of the man possessed by Legion — the many demons all behaving as if they were a single entity — seems somewhat appropriate for the time of year in which we find ourselves. The demons are not, however, the focal point to which God drew me this morning. The focal point is the man who was once possessed.

There are some things which I find interesting in this story.

One, the man could not ask Jesus to set him free, because the demons were in complete control. Once the demons were given the boot, the man wanted to follow Jesus anywhere and everywhere He went, so it is entirely likely that this man had been a prisoner in his own body until Jesus set him free. We, too, are prisoners in our own bodies until Jesus sets us free. We are not all possessed by demons, but we are all sold into slavery to sin (Romans 6). But whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

Second, this man lived among the dead; in a graveyard. We, too, walk among the dead. I think that part of the reason for the notion of zombies being so persistent is that we all know, deep down, that we are walking among the living dead. Everyone living their lives apart from Christ is dead in their trespass and sin. The only living walking around this place are those to whom Christ gave Life and that more abundantly.

The third, and most impactful, thing that struck me this morning is that Jesus did not permit this man to travel along with Him, but told the man to go back and report what great things God had done for him. These days, we call that “giving a testimony.” This man’s testimony was powerful. He had been possessed by demons. Lots of demons. He had been living in a perpetual state of madness — cutting himself (cutting is not a new thing) and doing damage to himself regularly. He lived in a graveyard, with only the dead for company. That is who and what he was before he met Jesus and before Jesus set him free. The man was well known. The people came out and saw him and knew that this buy had been demon possessed. They knew that this man had been incurable; beyond help. They also knew that the man standing before them was not the same. The man who told them the story was in his right mind and not cutting himself. The man who told them the story had not a single demon within him and was completely under control.

What is my testimony? From what things has God delivered me? It may be that God’s deliverance for me is from something astonishing like this man’s demon possession or it may be from one of the more modern incurables like depression or addiction. Whatever my testimony, I, too, am charged with going to those who knew me when and telling them what great things God has done for me. If God has truly made changes in my life, those who knew me when will also be amazed.

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