The Power Of One
18 When Jesus got back into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go, too. 19 But Jesus said, “No, go home to your friends, and tell them what wonderful things the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” 20 So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to tell everyone about the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them. Mark 5:18-20 (NLT)
Wait! What? Jesus is always inviting people to follow him. Yet, when the demon possessed man is set free and wants to follow Him, Jesus says “No”? How does that make sense? Jesus IS calling the man to follow Him, but it means going to back to where he came from. Sometimes when following Jesus we have to go backward in order to go forward. Sometimes the most difficult missionary work is right in our own home town. I have no doubt the idea of taking off with Jesus and His disciples was a much happier prospect then going back to the family, friends, and now very angry pig farmers. These were the very ones who had chased him out of town and chained him in the cemetery in the first place. Now saved, set free, and of a sound mind Jesus is asking him to go home and live life with those who had rejected him. Earlier in this chapter Jesus explained the reason for this instruction: 16 “Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.”. Jesus knew that if this man came with Him his light, his story of transformation, the glory that goes to God would be hidden. To go back to the place where everyone knew who he had been and to see who he was now would shine that light brighter then any other place in the world he could have gone. The power of this one story could change everything. Thankfully the man from the Ten Towns did listen and more was about to added to what he had already been given. Though he was being asked to do the most uncomfortable and awkward of actions Jesus knew exactly what would happen when this one light was allowed to shine in the Ten Towns he was returning to. Approximately one year later we see in scripture that Jesus returns to this very area: “Jesus left Tyre and went to Sidon, then back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns…1 About this time another great crowd had gathered, and the people ran out of food again….There were about four thousand people in the crowd that day, and he sent them home after they had eaten. Mark 7:31;8:1-10 (NLT) This is the power of one! Think of the concentric circles of transformation when one rock was dropped into the pond, one light in the darkness, one man who had been completely transformed is sent back home. It was an impact on an entire region that wasn’t seen for a year but prepared the way for the miracle about to occur. Jesus saw this one man was the linchpin for reaching the Ten Towns! Those 4000 Gentiles who had previously wanted nothing to do with Jesus, even going so far as to ask Him to leave, now came hungry for more of what they’d been hearing about for a year from this one man now set free!
We have no idea how important we are, what is hanging in the balance, what is waiting for us to be free and to set others free! Why do we think the enemy of our souls has been trying so hard to keep us down, trapped, isolated, stuck? He knows our potential better then we do. How many recently faced a battle when we got home, went to work, on our way to small group or Sunday service? How many will come to know Jesus because of the decision we make today to go back to those places where we’re known as sinners, where we messed up big time, where we were rejected? We are the linchpin in ways we don’t even see yet. Yet, if we will be willing to listen, to let our light shine, God will do more with that one act of obedience then we can possibly imagine. Is it going to be easy? No way! Will people we know want to remind us of our past mistakes or reputations? Most likely. But, that which the enemy thinks will shame us into silence will cause the light of Christ to shine all the more brilliantly when they see the change in us. Will it happen over night? No. It took a year of this man living, working, and sharing his story in the Ten Towns before we witnessed the miracle of the feeding of the 4000. We might just now be on the verge of seeing a miracle breakthrough in the lives of our family, friends, and co-workers. The worst thing we could do is to take the easy road and leave or give up. Let’s go forward in Christ by going back to where we were before Christ! If one story could change ten cities think about what our stories could do in the hands of Christ!
God I thank You for all the amazing stories of transformation surrounding me that You are using to change the hearts and lives of this island. I pray these lights would not be hidden. That we would listen to your instruction even if it’s not something we want to hear. The idea that following You very often means going home or going to work is something that needs to sink in so we shine out! I pray the you would add to the numbers daily those who will be saved because of the stories being lived out right now! That not a single one of us would underestimate the power of one life submitted to the life of the Powerful One!