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.” Mark 5:18-19
After casting the demons out of a man and into a herd of pigs who then drowned, why does Jesus reject the man’s request to follow him? He had chosen Simon, Andrew, James, and John from a fishing boat. He allowed Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna to follow him, after casting demons from them. Now he casts not one, not seven, but thousands of demons from this man, then denies him the privilege of following him. He instead sends him back to Decapolis with instructions to tell his story to the people who had banished him to the tombs, the same people who had just arrived on the scene, fearful of the miracle they had witnessed.
This man certainly would have benefitted from travelling with Jesus and learning from him. But God had a greater purpose for him. He not only was able to return and reconcile with his family, he was able to spread to all of Decapolis the pure news of God’s mercy. In this place where he once knew desolation and indescribable pain, the man experienced Jesus’ salvation and protection. He became an evangelist in a different way from the disciples. By returning to a place of former bondage, he was able to be a living example of God’s grace.
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 5:20
Jesus calls some people to go to Bible college, to become missionaries or pastors. He calls others to evangelize right where they are. How are you being called to evangelize? What story do you have to tell of God’s mercy and grace? Are you telling it?