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August 1, 2021 | Javan Shashaty
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“As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘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.’ So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.”—Mark 5:18–20 (NIV)
Yesterday, as we looked at Mark 5:14–17, we saw the people react with fear after Jesus healed the demon-possessed man—they begged him to leave their region. I think we can relate this situation to our own crippling desire to remain in our sin rather than embrace the powerful healing that Jesus brings! Instead of following a crowd of people who refuse to repent and turn to Jesus, we must do the exact opposite and follow Him wholeheartedly. Although this holds true, as we continue reading today’s verses, we’ll see a clearer picture of what this truly means.
First, let’s imagine what this man must have felt like at this moment. He probably felt sad, isolated, and unloved as he saw people asking Jesus—the man who just freed him—to leave! Yet when he pleads for Christ to stay, Jesus also responds unexpectedly. Instead of pointing him away from the very people who so stubbornly desired to remain in their sin, He commands him to go right back to them and proclaim what Jesus had done for him.
In John 8:12 (NIV) Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Following Jesus not only means we follow the light of the world, it also means we have His light within us! In Matthew 5:14–15 (NIV), Jesus puts it another way exclaiming, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Therefore, if we are following the light of the world and are the light of the world, then we must be willing to step into the dark places which need the light most!
Although the Lord is certainly our refuge in times of trouble and darkness, we cannot use our relationship with the Lord as a barrier to keep us away from the scary, mean, evil world we live in. When Jesus prayed to the Father for His followers in the garden of Gethsemane, He said, “Not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. . . . As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:15,18 NIV).
Following Jesus means we follow His example in reaching out to the unreached for the glory of God so all may worship Him! May that be what we seek to do today and every day!
PAUSE: How have you been hiding from your calling to glorify God by shining His light in the dark world around you?
PRACTICE: Do something to be the light of the world for Christ today! Step into a darker area than perhaps you are comfortable with (in faith and wisdom). Perhaps that means having a conversation with a difficult person, reconciling a relationship, or extending help to someone in poverty or other trouble.
PRAY: Gracious God, thank You that even though following You is not easy, You strengthen us and remind us that You will never leave us nor forsake us. You love us more than we can ever comprehend and, because of that, we can rest secure in knowing that You deserve all the glory and will receive all the glory at the end of the day! I will be the light of the world You have equipped me to be. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.