Mark 5:18–20 (ESV) — 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
The man who was moments before possessed, under the control of demons, now implores the Lord to let him stay with him. But Jesus gives him a mission instead, and in the first instance in Mark’s gospel Jesus gives him permission to speak about him. Up to this point he has commanded silence in (Mk. 1:25, 34, 43; 3:11), and spoken to the people in parables (Mk. 4:1–33). But now he tells the man who had been possessed by a demon to bear witness to what the Lord had done, and the mercy that was shown to him. We have then the earliest missionary, sent out by Jesus to spread the good news of the Gospel. That God came and took on flesh, and he is everywhere doing battle against the powers of hell that have long held men captive—blinding them, and keeping them from seeing “the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). The gospel is then more than our justification, it also includes freedom from the power of sin and death and the evil one. This man was once a slave to sin, but now the powers of hell being defeated he is made a slave to righteousness. Notice that in defeating those demons that held that man in bondage, he doesn’t just liberate him, but he also gives him new desires. Immediately the man wants to be with Jesus. And this is the heart attitude of all those called out of darkness. Thomas Chalmers in a famous sermon calls this “the expulsive power of a new affection.” When God comes in he reshapes our desires to love what God calls good, and hate what God calls evil. Whereas in sin our desires are on ourselves. We are bent in on ourself, but in Christ we are turned toward God. Then when clothed and sitting in our right mind, God gives us a mission—tell others. It is so easy to forget the great work that God has done in us for our salvation, so today remind yourself that God has defeated the power of sin over you. You are slaves to righteousness—now go tell someone!
Father, thank you for the liberating power of the Gospel. Thank you that we have been freed from the power of sin and death, and have been given life in your Son. In our battle against indwelling sin gives us victory, and enable us to overcome. With the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead give life to our mortal bodies. Father help us to remember that you have called us to bear witness to what you have done in our lives, and to the great mercy that you have shown to us. Help us today, to tell people about Jesus, and his great work in our lives. For ask in his name, and amen.