It has been a while since I last wrote on here, so I am going to ease back into things with this reflection from my quiet-time this morning...
I was reading the story of Jesus healing a demon-possessed man (see Luke 8:26-39) and was struck by the last few verses. Jesus has just totally changed this man's life and it seems logical to me that the man would want to go with Jesus...I would! But instead of taking the man with him, Jesus instructs the man to go home and "tell how much God has done for you."
As I have been thinking about this I am impressed by the reality that the healing of this man was not just for this man. Sure Jesus has great compassion on this oppressed and afflicted individual, but I can't help but think that this miracle is also for the sake of the others who are in the area. Jesus intentionally leaves this man behind to be a lasting reminder that the old ways of spiritual oppression were being dismantled, that God is doing something new. Just by his presence in town, this man was to be a testimony to the power and compassion of Christ. In addition, this man was charged with the task to speak about what God had done for him. To simply share what has happened and who is responsible for his radical transformation.
I can't help but think that this story has a lot in it for those of us who call ourselves Christians today. Sometimes after big God-experiences we are tempted to pull ourselves out of our culture, we can hide in Christian bubbles, we can disengage from relationships, we can function in our society just enough to get by but really have no vested interest in it. But I think that this story points out that pulling away is not necessarily why we have been "saved". Indeed what God has done in our lives should be there for others to see too. We need to be present and active. We need to find ways to live out our faith in vibrant, and culturally appropriate, ways that point people to Jesus. Not only this, but I believe we too are charged to be able to speak to the very real difference that God has made in our lives. Remember, this man is not asked to spout knowledge about God, he is not asked to learn a specific evangelistic methodology, he is asked to share from his experience of God.
So today I am pondering what this all means in practical terms. How can I best live out, and testify to, my experience with Jesus that help others see him in real ways too. Thoughts?