August 01, 2020 | Letters from the Lead Pastor by Brandon Lenhart
Jesus said… “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.”
And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
Luke 8:39 (ESV)
The verse above is from a passage in Luke’s Gospel in the New Testament, and it’s Jesus’ response after healing a man possessed by many demonic entities. This man, commonly known as the Gerasene demoniac, lived among the tombs on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee just outside of his hometown. He was naked and in chains, and was a danger to himself and others; and, because of this the townspeople steered clear of him and left him completely alone. However, when Jesus encountered this man, He didn’t steer clear of him. Rather, Jesus drew near to him and confronted, not the man, but the evil within him and healed the man from the onslaught of bondage that had burdened, and possessed him for many years.
Casting out the demons into a herd of pigs nearby, Jesus set this man free and gave him a second chance to return home better than when he left in the first place. He was now whole! He was now complete! He was now a new creation, saved from sin and death and the grip of hell.
I think it’s interesting that after Jesus healed this man, word got out fast to the nearby town. When the people came out to see the man and witness for themselves what Jesus had done, they were seized with so much fear that they asked Jesus to leave and go back where He came from. Of course, Jesus obliged and set off back across to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, but not before the man that was healed begged to go with Jesus. And, what was Jesus’ response? “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And, what did he do? “He went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.” But why wouldn’t Jesus want the man to come along with Him?
I think Jesus didn’t want the man to come along with Him because of the work He was calling him to. Even though they didn’t want Jesus to stay, the townspeople didn’t ask the man who was healed to leave.
Sometimes people are willing to listen to our personal testimony of what Jesus has done before they are willing to listen to the story of Jesus from the Bible. Sometimes (many times) God uses those whose lives Jesus has changed, to be ministers to others whose lives need to be changed.
Going home can be hard and difficult and painful at times because it requires that we face our past. But facing our past is the only way to move into the future with healing and hope. Jesus healed this man and sent him home. Jesus longs to heal you and send you back home as His witness so that others might be set free by hearing your testimony. The testimony of a God-changed life can change lives.