Focal passage: Mark 5:1-2, 8-15, 18-20
There is something very exciting about going on a foreign mission trip. It seems adventurous and perhaps even risky.
We may be tempted to think that we are being bolder for Jesus when we share Christ in a far-away land.
From our perspective, it may seem much less exciting to walk over to the guy across the street whose dogs keep you up at night and tell him about Christ.
And, though you’ve got some friend or family member that needs to know Jesus, you break out in a cold sweat every time you consider talking to them about putting their faith in the Lord.
We find a similar apathy to local witnessing in Mark’s Gospel.
Mark tells us about an intense encounter between Jesus and a man who was possessed by demons.
While there are many interesting details about this encounter, we find that Jesus drove the demons from this man and that just like many contemporary believers, the man had his sights set on a far-away mission field. As Jesus was departing the region, the formerly demon-possessed man wanted to go with the Lord.
However, Mark writes, “But He [Jesus] would not let him; instead, He told him, ‘Go back home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you.’ So he went out and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and they were all amazed” (Mark 5:19–20).
The power of this man’s testimony was in the fact that everyone had known him before.
You don’t have to go far to share how Christ has changed your life.
You will find at least two advantages of sharing your testimony in your own community.
First, your testimony is more powerful if people can see that Christ has changed you or that
God has brought you through difficulties in life.
Second, you already have a relationship with the people with whom you are sharing the gospel.
So while we cannot forget the mandate to do missions, keep in mind that when the disciples were standing on the Mount of Olives, Jesus told them the first place they were to be His witnesses was “… in Jerusalem and Judea” (Acts 1:8).