He was one of the most effective missionaries in history, and we don’t even know his name. He had no formal theological training and had never read any books about evangelism and missions. In fact, he never even owned a Bible! He didn’t implement “guaranteed-to-succeed” strategies nor did he build a magnificent megachurch. And yet, he won hundreds of souls to Christ and transformed an entire city with only one thing: his testimony.
He was the former demoniac from the “country of the Gerasenes,” and his life was markedly and magnificently changed after one momentous moment with the Master, Jesus Christ (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39). After spending only an hour or two at the feet of Jesus, the man was left behind as a witness to broadcast his newfound faith and testimony to his hometown. “Go home to your friends,” said the Lord, “and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19). Jesus returned to the region some time later, but found the Gerasenes begging Him to stay rather than begging Him to leave, which they had done previously (cf. Mark 5:17; 7:32). And undoubtedly, the city’s undeniable shift from rejection to acceptance of Jesus was due to the man’s verbal and visible testimony, for “he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him” (Luke 8:39b).
Never underestimate the arresting power of your personal testimony—it might change your whole neighborhood. Tell people verbally what Jesus has done for you, and show people visibly what Jesus has done for you. Say with the psalmist David,
“I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation” (Psalm 40:9-10).
Opening your mouth to speak is only natural if God has opened your heart to believe. After being cleansed, the former leper zealously spread the good news of Jesus’ cleansing touch (Mark 1:45). After his ears were opened, the ex-deaf man proclaimed the gospel to anybody who would listen (Mark 7:36). After the Samaritan Woman met Jesus at Jacob’s well, she evangelized her entire neighborhood (John 4:39). And even the man from Gerasa bore witness about Jesus, although all he had was a testimony.
“Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child, and forever, I am.” — Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It (Fanny Crosby, 1820-1915)
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).