And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
Perhaps the man who had been possessed by the devils didn’t think much of himself or much of his story. His past was not something to brag about. His experience had been kind of extreme, maybe unrelatable to most people. But he was different now than he had been before his encounter with Jesus. His heart was different. His mind was different. His purpose was different. And it wasn’t because of self-reformation. It wasn’t that he had been able to overcome those devils inside him and send them away by his own power.
His story wasn’t about himself, but about Jesus and how the impossible had been done, how he had been changed so completely because God had intervened in his story and changed the course of his life. It is a story about freedom and hope and new life, and everyone can relate to that. Those are things that many crave for in their own lives. And so this man could have such an impact, being so notorious among the people there, because Jesus had made such a drastic difference in his life.
What kind of impact can we have just by simply telling others what Jesus has done for us and how He’s made a difference in our lives? There is power in a personal story, a testimony of how God has worked. And maybe our story is not as dramatic as this man’s. Maybe our transformation was not as severe. But every believer in Christ has been changed by the power of God in some way. Everyone who has experienced the grace of God and been emptied of self and filled with His Spirit is a witness of the undeniable difference Jesus can make.
Stories of transformed lives have a tremendous impact on others. They can instill hope in someone that the same is possible for them. Often we can find ourselves in some aspect of another person’s story and be encouraged that God can work in our situation, too, that the love and compassion and the power of Jesus working in our lives can make a difference. And really, the mission that Jesus gives to this man is the same one He gives to all of us—to tell people about the great things Jesus has done. And when we do that, we can make a bigger difference in the lives of others than we ever thought possible.