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WITNESSES FROM GERGESA
When I was a new Christian, I wanted to tell others about Jesus. On Sabbath afternoons, I would often join other teens in knocking on doors. We would pass out Bible tracts or try to find people who were interested in Bible studies. It was exciting work, but whenever I stood in front of a door, I secretly wished no one would answer. I was afraid of what they might say or what they might think of me. I definitely wasn't a bold witness like Peter or Paul.
But that all changed when I was rebaptized as a young mother. The week before I was baptized, I prayed that God would fulfill His promise in Acts 2:38,39. On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter said, "Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all those who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." I figured that included me, so I asked Jesus to give me the Holy Spirit in His fullness so I could be a better witness.
And Jesus answered my prayer! When I came up out of the water, all my fears were washed away, just like all my sins. From that day forward, I had no fear in knocking on doors or in sharing what Jesus has done for me. Self was buried when I was baptized. I stopped thinking about myself, what I would say, how much I knew or what people might think of me. All I wanted was for others to experience the life-changing power I had found in Jesus. I wanted them to have His joy and peace.
I believe it was like that for the two men at Gergesa. "Their flesh [had been] torn and bleeding where they had cut themselves with sharp stones. Their eyes glared out from their long and matted hair; the very likeness of humanity seemed to have been blotted out by the demons that possessed them, and they looked more like wild beasts than men" (Desire of Ages, p. 337).
But when Jesus commanded the demons to flee, these men became calm and "with glad voices [they] praised God for their deliverance" (ibid, p. 338). When it was time for Jesus to get back into the boat and return to Galilee, they begged Jesus to take them with Him. They wanted to learn from Christ and be His disciple.
These men were not Jews. They came from a heathen home in Decapolis. They knew very little about God and His worship. But Jesus had a work for them to do. He said, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you" (Mark 5:19).
The ex-demoniacs didn't have the same privilege that Peter and John had. They never heard a story or a sermon from Christ. They didn't live with Jesus and work alongside Him. But they had a story that they could tell. They had been delivered by Christ from a whole legion of devils and they could share how Jesus changed their lives.
"As witnesses for Christ, we are to tell what we know, what we ourselves have seen and heard and felt. If we have been following Christ step by step, we shall have something right to the point to tell concerning the way in which He has led us. We can tell how we have tested His promise, and found the promise true. We can bear witness to what we have known of the grace of Christ. This is the witness to which our Lord calls, and for want of which the world is perishing!" (Desire of Ages, p. 340)
Just think of it! The world is dying to hear the gospel according to you! There are hundreds, perhaps even thousands, who need to hear your story about the love and power of Jesus Christ. In every neigh-borhood there are people who are "looking wistfully to heaven. Prayers and tears are inquiries go up from souls longing for light, for grace, for the Holy Spirit. Many are on the verge of the kingdom, waiting only to be gathered in" (Christian Service, p. 57).
They may be waiting to hear from you or to hear from me. Let's pray that God will use our testimonies to prepare others for the soon coming of Jesus. And may He bless us with the power of the Holy Spirit to be bold witnesses for Christ.
FOR DEEPER BLESSINGS:
* Read Mark 5:1-20
* Read Desire of Ages, pp. 337-341