Mark reveals further facts about the man delivered from the legion of devils. He does so not only to relate the full story, but also to illustrate important truths about following Jesus.
“And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him” (Mark 5:18).
As Jesus was about to leave the area, the man requested that he be allowed to go with Jesus. He was so grateful for what the Lord had done for him that he wanted to tell the world about it. There cannot be a greater request than to ask to minister to and for Jesus. At first, it might seems strange that the Lord refused to allow him to follow Him, but the fact is, that He had a work for him to do at home. He was commissioned to be a missionary to his own family, friends and neighbours. This makes sense for they did not want Jesus to remain in that area, “And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts” (Mark 5:17).
The place we desire to be may not be the Lord’s will for us. We often think we know best and so want to do things our own way, but God has His perfect will for our lives. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2) … “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
New believers are usually the most eager to rush out to do mighty things for the Lord, but they are poor judges of what the Lord’s will is. Often when people get excited, they become blind to their own weaknesses and shortcomings. The spiritual life includes growing towards maturity in Christ.
We need to pray that God would give us the wisdom to make the right choices in life, that we might live in humility, that we might walk by faith rather than by feelings and emotions (2 Corinthians 5:7). We ought to be content in the position Christ has placed us in, and happy to be led by the Spirit of God, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
“Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel” (Mark 5:19-20).
The man obediently did that which Jesus commanded him to do. This was probably a harder task than travelling with Jesus and His disciples. No one who knew about his previous condition could deny that a marvellous transformation had taken place since he met the Lord. His testimony became headlines throughout the ten cities.
To want to testify to family and friends ought to be the most natural thing for a believer to do. If do not tell them about the saving power of Christ how will they ever come to know Him? If we are truly born-again they see the wonderful change the Saviour has made in us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
How can we be silent about the power of our God? We ought to use every opportunity to tell others about Him, “He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias” (John 1:41) … “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth” (John 1:45) … “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:29). Let us never be embarrassed about serving Christ, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16) … “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul” (Psalm 66:16). We will not truly follow Christ until we first tell those of our own family about Him. Evangelism begins at home.