Welcome to Day 15! We begin a new week on this journey and a shift is occurring. Just like when taking a road trip. There are days when not much changes and then days when things really change quickly – the terrain, landscape, weather – etc. I believe the advent of Week 3 beginning with Day 15 is just such a shift and I am oh – so excited! This week’s theme gives us a hint,” Why Pray for Neighbors?” Although Devries has hinted at this shift in several of the previous lessons, it appears we are fully stepping into the school of “Prayer and Evangelism” – “Prayer and Kingdom Expansion”!
If you haven’t read Day 15 in the “Why Pray?” book – I suggest you do so now! Then consider the following scripture taking special note of the highlighted verses! It’s long so take your time with it!
Mark 5 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet Him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of Him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do You want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” 9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. 18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with Him. 19 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.” 20 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.
One of the places this scriptural story and the Day 15 reading converge is verses 18-20. The guy wanted to follow Jesus – physically get in the boat with Him to be close to Him – and Jesus pointed him to a higher calling. Jesus sent him to tell all of his family and friends what had happened to him and Who had done it! He was to reenter all those relationships he had before he knew Jesus and see those relationships as his context to be a witness for Jesus.
This is an awesome strategy! We are all placed in relationships, neighborhoods, and workplaces with divine accuracy! I think Devries put it this way, “People are not merely isolated individuals to be won to Christ one at a time. A person is always part of a social fabric. A person has a home, relatives, friends, and neighbors, all who influence each other.” And another place he writes, “The missionaries could not get beyond the concept of ‘winning individuals to Christ one at a time’. They did not understand that God has placed us in neighborhoods. They did not understand that when Jesus sent out the 72 disciples to spread the Gospel by finding persons of peace in each village, He was telling them to win neighborhoods by winning individuals and not removing them from their surroundings. They were to see these individuals as doors to the homes…”
I love this evangelism – kingdom building strategy! A cool thought has struck me that I have never entertained before and will spend some time contemplating this today!
When God brought me to faith in Jesus and poured life into my heart by His Spirit perhaps it was not just me He was considering. Perhaps He was also considering the people who are included in my potential for being His witness and ambassador in the myriad of relationships I would have in my life. Perhaps “I” am His strategy for reaching tens, hundreds, thousands maybe with the goodness and greatness of the good news of His kingdom. I have always known I am supposed to be a witness but I never saw myself as someone like that healed demoniac who Jesus more or less commissions to reach that whole region! I never entertained that when God considers me He does not just see “me” as precious and important but when He considers me He also sees the potential people I can reach for Him – in my own context and situation!
There are so many wonderful aspects of this reading and scripture story that may have grabbed your attention! Please share! Your input and conversations are rich and edifying!
How about the idea of our “potential” for Christ? How about the idea of each of us being God’s “Plan A Strategy” for reaching certain people? What did you think of the “Mr. Ditt” story? What about if Jesus saw, when bringing “Mr. Ditt” to faith, not only him as valuable and important but simultaneously saw the 300,000 people that were in his “witness potential”!
Let’s keep praying for the five or so families we listed last week. Maybe we are discovering why those particular people were brought to our hearts and mind?
This is exciting!