Most Christians are familiar with this passage where Jesus heals a demon possessed man. The people of the man’s town then asked Jesus to leave, which He did. The healed man desired to follow Jesus, but take note of what the Lord Jesus said in response:
Luke 8:39 “Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee”. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.
Mark 5:19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “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.”
It struck me that in these two accounts, there is a slight difference in what the Holy Spirit records through the gospel writers.
In Mark’s gospel, the healed man is to go to his friends, and tell them of what God has done to him. Yes, we who have received salvation from God, and have peace with Him through Jesus Christ, are to go to our friends, telling them of the good news we have heard and received. We may not meet our friends very often, and we may find it easier to make a verbal pronounciation of our faith. The word ‘tell’ that’s used in the verse, carries the meaning to rehearse, or report. This is what we should, no, must do.
In Luke’s gospel, the healed man is asked to return to ‘his own house’ or family, and the word ‘shew’ or show is used (at least in the Authorised version) to communicate what God has done for him. Here the word ‘show’ carries the meaning to display or relate fully. This is more than just a verbal statement, but an actual showing of the reality and difference God has made in our lives. Indeed, its much harder to open up to family, and because they see us more often than our friends, the living testimony of our lives play a greater role in convincing our family than just telling them that we’re Christian.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that with friends, we don’t need to be careful with our conduct and speech. Anything we say, has to be on the foundation of what we do. True is the saying “what you do is so loud, I can’t hear what you’re saying” (or something like that, lah).
In working with some young people in our assembly, I’ve come to realize that this lesson is something that’s not been drilled in enough. Some young christians put on their ‘saintly garments’ and come to church, and are very kind and loving to one another, but are quite the opposite at home: quick to anger, easily frustrated, drawn into arguments, rebellious, uncooperative, disobedient.
If we truly want our friends and families to be saved (more so our families), we must, more than anything, show Christ in our lives. They can’t see our resurrected Christ, except through us.
We are called ambassadors of Christ. This is a high calling, and means that to our non-believing friends “what-you-see-is-what-Christ-is”. If were to take an honest look at our own lives at home, in school, or at work, we may realize, how far short we fall of displaying our Lord in our lives.
Heb 13:20 But the God of peace, who brought again from among the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, in the power of the blood of the eternal covenant,
Heb 13:21 perfect you in every good work to the doing of his will, doing in you what is pleasing before him through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for the ages of ages. Amen