In the United States, we have an airline, called Southwest, who ask on their commercials, “Want to get away?” In each commercial someone will find themselves in an embarrassing situation, where they would gladly fly to the other side of the world and hide under a rock. The airline then suggests getting on their plane to get away from it all.
In Mark 5 we read about a man who was in a very embarrassing situation before his conversion. When I tell you everything that happened with this man, you will agree with me, that after his conversion, he would gladly hop on an airplane to get away. However, Jesus sent him on a mission trip—back home!
For sake of space, I am going to mention only highlights from the story, but you can read it for yourself here.
Sadly, demon activity has not changed much over the years. This man was hanging out in tombs, obsessed with death, much like those controlled by demons today. Jesus is life, and when we don’t have Jesus, all that’s left is death. He refused to be “tamed,” “taught” or “controlled.” The exact words may vary, based on your favorite translation, but the idea is the same. He was not going to be bound by biblical standards, like so many today, who do not want to hear what is right and wrong.
He cut himself. Today many cut themselves trying to find healing, not realizing, Jesus was already cut and wounded to bring them healing. The demoniac is tormented by the presence of Jesus. Today, an unconverted person does not want to be where Jesus can be found. They want nothing to do with Bible study, prayer meeting or family worship.
None of these demonic demonstrations faze Jesus. He heals the man and he becomes converted. Verse 15 tells us that, after his conversion, the man is clothed and in his right mind. Luke 8 tells us this man was naked at the beginning of the story. Mark tells us at the end that after the conversion he is clothed. Another sign of demonic activity is wanting to dress improperly or not at all. When we become converted, we dress appropriately.
Now that the man is converted, we see that he wants to be with Jesus. He tells Him in verse 18 that he wants to be with Jesus.
Now I am imagining that if I had been seen by my community, running around naked in a cemetery, that I would now like to jump on a Southwest airlines jet, or any jet for that matter and get away! I think a nice mission trip to the other side of the planet would now be in order, so I could preach the gospel about as far away as I could get from the people who saw me running around a cemetery naked, cutting myself.
But in verse 19 Jesus sends him on a mission trip—back home! Jesus tells the man to go back home and tell what wonderful things Jesus has done for him.
Friend, if Jesus has done wonderful things for you, if He really has changed your life, you don’t need to get away. While foreign mission trips are fun, fruitful and rewarding, chances are Jesus may have a mission field for you right in your very home. Jesus doesn’t send everyone to the other side of the planet, as much as we may sometimes like that idea—especially after an embarrassing moment, when we want to get away.
Jesus may have a mission trip planned for you right in your very home. The people saw the change in this man. So much so that in verse 15 it says it scared them or made them afraid! It must have been a real shock when the reality of what Jesus had done in this man’s life was seen.
If you run to the other side of the world, people won’t see the change.
If Jesus has changed your life, you don’t need to be afraid. You can confidently go back home, clothed with the righteousness of Christ and in your right mind, and tell them what wonderful things Jesus has done for you.