â€¦â€œGo home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.â€ Mark 5:19 (NIV)
He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this,â€¦ Mark 5:43 (NIV)
These Scriptures are from two stories of miraculous healings. The first is the demon-possessed man that ran through the tombs in the region of Gerasenes. Jesus commands the demons calling themselves Legion to come out of the man and sends the demons into a herd of pigs. The man is so overjoyed and thankful for what God has done that he wants to follow and serve Jesus. Jesus says â€œNoâ€ and â€œGo tellâ€. The second is the story of Jairus the centurionâ€™s daughter who dies before Jesus can arrive. Jesus takes only Peter, James, and John with Him on this â€˜missionâ€™. He sends the wailers out of the room, leaving only the parents and the three disciples. After the child comes back to life Mark and Luke both state that Jesus ordered the five not to talk about what happened. (Luke 8:56) Matthew, however, does not say that but says that the news spread throughout the region. (Matthew 9:26) I would think that all three gospels tell the story: Jesus said not to tell but a parent would have difficulty not telling the story of how their child was restored to them! And this is where Jesus led me today.
Obedience. Using this specific order from God: to tell or nor to tell, Jesus shows that because God sees the Big Picture there are times He may tell me to speak and there are times He may say, â€œBe quiet!â€ God can see the â€˜ripple-effectâ€™ of my actions. He can see when I share what He has done in my life how Janey Smith or Louis Leech will react. God understands the timing of things. His eyes look much farther into the future than my eyes can. It is just as disobedient to testify as it is not to testify if God has not given the command. Especially in testifying I believe that when God sends His Spirit before me to touch, to â€˜tenderizeâ€™ peopleâ€™s hearts that will allow His word in my testimony to fall on fertile ground and grow into something bigger than I can imagine.
Remember Pentecost? Remember how the fisherman, Peter, stood up in front of Jews from all over the world, unafraid, and told them about the Living Christ? By the power of Godâ€™s Spirit, 3,000 people had open hearts to receive the Good News of the Messiah. It was not Peterâ€™s great words but Godâ€™s great power running through Peter that brought those 3, 000 to eternal salvation. If Peter had spoke outside Godâ€™s plan, he would have died.
And then there was Stephen. He also spoke with Godâ€™s Spirit in Godâ€™s timing and he was stoned to death. Godâ€™s plan is perfect and the result will always be good. Stephen did not â€˜loseâ€™ that day. He â€˜wonâ€™ his reward. When we walk in Godâ€™s will, we never lose. We only win eternity for ourselves and others.
How do we know when to speak or not? We build our relationship with God so that we know His voice and are open to His answerâ€¦not confined by our own pre-conceived idea of how God should use us and work. We build, day by day, prayer by prayer, word by studied word, until like any child, we can hear our Fatherâ€™s voice amidst all the other voices in our life. Listen. Learn. Respond in obedience, â€œSpeak, Lord. Your servant is listening.â€