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Bringing the Gospel Home
by Tom Goodman
November 26, 2014

Jesus invited most people with the call, "Leave everything and follow me," but he gave one man an even harder call.

"Go home."

In the land of the Gerasenes, Jesus met a deeply troubled man (Mark 5:1-20).  He lived homeless among the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.  His only contact with his frightened neighbors was when they tried to restrain him with chains.  Jesus saw the Destroyer behind the man's misery, and he performed a dramatic exorcism.  When the event drew a crowd, the Gerasenes saw their infamous resident "sitting there, dressed and in his right mind."

As the episode comes to a close, we see the grateful Gerasene make a very understandable request:  He wanted to go with Jesus!  Wouldn't you?  I would not have wanted to live in a community that remembered my shameful past.

But Christ gave the Gerasene a different order.  In fact, it was a different task than he typically gave others.  When Jesus invited Peter and Andrew to become his disciples, for example, he told them to leave their fishing business behind (Matthew 4).  Truth be told, not all of us would struggle with such a command to leave all that feels secure and familiar.  Some of us would be all too thrilled to run away from the people and the places that hold memories of our shameful past.

As I said, though, when the restored man asked to go with Jesus, the Savior gave him another order.  A tougher order.  He did not say, "Come away with me," but rather, "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."

Many of you are reading this post over your Thanksgiving break.  You may be gathered with relatives or friends who know your past.  Christ may be saying to you what he said to this restored man:  "Go back to your own and tell them what the Lord has done for you."

Our hardest task is not letting a pastor present us to a church excited to hear about our new faith.  Our hardest task is expressing our new faith where we live and work and go to school.  In the Gerasene's case, he readily obeyed, and faithfully reported to his own people what Jesus had done for him.  Let's follow his example.


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