Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"Are You Ready to Go?", A Closer Look by Reggie Koop

Key Scripture: Mark 5:20, “And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him:  and all men did marvel.” (KJV)

Notice what this man did, he did exactly what Jesus told him to do.  He went. He did not hesitate. He did not make any excuses. For instance, He did not say:

“I don’t have enough education.”
“I don’t have time.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“The people won’t listen to me, they know me.”

He did not argue, He went.

Where did He go? He went to a region known as the Decapolis (in Greek, deca means ten; polis means city). This region was a loosely connected group of 10 cities located mostly East and Southeast of the Sea of Galilee.  The region was set free from Jewish domination by the Roman general Pompey when he occupied Palestine in 63 B.C.

Each of these cities were semi-autonomous but were grouped together because of their cultural similarities, which was predominately Greek. According to a Pliny the Elder, a Roman historian, in his Natural History, completed by 77 A.D. the 10 cities were:

Damascus (modern day Damascus, Syria)
Philadelphia (Amman, Jordan) – not the same as the church in Revelation
Raphna (Albia, Jordan)
Gadara (Umm Qais, Jordan)
Hippus (Hippos or Sussita, Israel)
Dion (???, Jordan)
Pella (Pella, Jordan)
Gerasa (Jerash, Jordan)
Kathan (Qanawat, Syria)
Scythopolis (Beth-Shean, Isreal) which was the only city west of the Jordan.

Regarding the man, Jesus had work for him to do. He was to go home to his friends and neighbors and tell them what Jesus had done for him and the compassion He showed him. He had a personal testimony.  Just like you and me.  Jesus changed him. People want to know your testimony – how Jesus has changed and affected you.

We might say He could have been the first missionary.  This man was told to go out and tell about Jesus Christ.  And the opportunity to accept Jesus is there. Isn’t this what a missionary does?

Consider the Great Commission from Acts 1:8:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:  and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (KJV)

Let’s paraphrase that for our setting:
Go home (to your family)
Go to your neighborhood (your neighbors)
Go to your town (friends, neighbors, enemies)
Go to your county (co-workers, neighbors, enemies - your sphere of influence)
Go to your state
Anywhere you go

What was the effect? “All men did marvel.”  I’m sure that most people around knew about this man – what he was like and how he behaved.  He was out of his mind.  But if you look back at verse 15 he was in his right mind.

But that’s all we know.  Hopefully seeds were planted.  We can assume seeds were planted if a church grew in Philadelphia, for instance. We don’t know if any one accepted Jesus.  I believe it is the same today. Many will marvel, many will hear, many will see, but few will follow.

We are to plant the seed and God will cultivate it.

How can be apply this to our lives:
1. Seek opportunities.
2. Pray
3. Go
4. Get ‘r’ done.  Give your testimony.

As Peter wrote in his letter, “…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason to the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,…” (1 Peter 3.15)

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