WHAT mATTERS? WITNESSING
Why did Jesus often perform a miracle on people and then charge them not to tell anyone what was done? Matthew8:4 Or at times, He would reveal a spiritual truth and tell His disciples to not reveal that truth until after His resurrection? Mark9:9 I don’t know the answer. What do you think?
Then I found an exception to this pattern that has made me even more curious. As recorded in the account given in Mark 5:1-20, Jesus met a man possessed by 2,000 demons named Legion. Jesus ordered them out of the man and into a herd of swine that then ran down a cliff and drowned in the sea. Being freed from his prison, the former demoniac now asked to go with and follow Jesus. “However, Jesus permitted him not, but said 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.”
There are four main English words we use for the Greek word, martus, (meaning martyr, as in someone being killed for their faith.) The other three words are, 1) witness, 2) testify or testimony, and 3) record. These have slightly different meanings depending on the context. In the account above, the freed man went home and gave witness of what occurred, relating the facts of the case as one would in a courtroom. He then gave his unique testimony, preaching what Jesus did for him personally. Lastly, those who knew and heard him in his hometown marveled, repeating the record of his story. (Also see 1 John 5:6-13 where these three words occur together.)
What matters is that we consider copying this example ourselves. The Bible tells us to witness to others the facts of the Gospel, that God promises eternal life to whosoever repents and believes in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Then, those facts will be re-enforced when giving our personal testimony of how we became a brand-new, born-again person. Lastly, we trust that whoever we speak with will remember the record we leave with them, of seeing a miraculously changed life. Thus, Jesus is exalted and glorified for what He has done for us and what He can do for them.