What Has God Done for You?

What Has God Done for You?

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            I was recently reading in Luke’s gospel of the story of Jesus casting out the demon possessed man who lived in the country of the Gerasenes.  This story is found in Luke 8:26-39 (it’s also found in Matthew 8 and Mark 5).  It’s a very fascinating story with some interesting details.  

            This man had been suffering for some time.  He lived as a man out of his mind among the tombs and wearing no clothes.  He was tormented by these demons.  I believe one reason we see such demonic activity in the gospels is because the Evil One was reacting to the earthly presence of the Son of God. The analogy I’ve heard is it’s like the German forces fighting with greater ferocity the closer the Allies marched to Berlin. Likewise, the fighting was fierce by Satan and his forces.

            Jesus takes pity on this man and orders the demons who have tortured him for so long to leave. They beg not to be thrown into “the abyss.”  This is never defined but might be a reference to their ultimate judgment to come referenced in the book of Revelation. Jesus then orders the demons into a herd of pigs that plunge over a cliff.

            Note what we read next in Luke 8:35- Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.

Isn’t it interesting that the people “were afraid?”  Jesus was doing works unimaginable. Yet, rather than embrace him they do the opposite. The passage goes on to say the people asked Jesus to depart from them due to their fear.

            We fear what we don’t understand and what we can’t control.  That was true here, it seems.  Jesus came demonstrating life-saving, life-changing power but He was rejected.  Some things never change.

            What is touching is to read that the man whose life was changed by the Messiah begs to go with Him.  No longer does the man live in fear and confusion.  No longer is he an outcast.  What does Jesus tell him?
            “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you” (verse 39).  It’s a call to tell others the good news. Go share your story, Jesus say.  Share the gospel.  That’s something we must do as well.  Most likely, we don’t have a story anything close to being as dramatic as this one. Yet, we all have a story of what God has done for us.  He’s forgiven us through His Son.  He’s declared us righteous in His sight because of the work of Jesus. He’s adopted us into His forever family.  He’s made us His own.

            Every Christian can share that God has done great things for them.  May God give us grace to share that story with others.  Let’s pray that God would grant us opportunity and boldness to declare how much God has done for us.

Paul Bankson
pbankson@gmail.com

Paul was born and raised in Birmingham, AL and graduated from Auburn University in 1986 with a degree in Business Administration. It was at Auburn that he met his wife, Connie. They were married in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and moved to Jackson, MS where he attended Reformed Theological Seminary graduating with a Master of Divinity in 1991. Upon graduation, Paul served as a Campus Minister with RUF, the campus ministry of the PCA, at Tennessee-Martin where the Banksons lived for 5 years. They moved to Macon, GA in 1996 to work with RUF at Mercer University and then Paul joined the pastoral staff at First Presbyterian Church of Macon as an Assistant Pastor in 1999. In 2004, Paul and his family moved to Warner Robins where he served as a church planter and then organizing Pastor of Houston Lake Presbyterian Church. In December 2014 Paul completed a Doctor of Ministry degree through Reformed Theological Seminary of Orlando. Paul and Connie have three sons, Andrew (23), Stephen (20), and Matthew (15). Paul enjoys grilling, camping with his family, and Auburn sports (War Eagle!).