Where is your Jerusalem?

Jesus undoubtedly had many challenging days during His earthly ministry. He drew large crowds, but often for the wrong reasons. Many just wanted to see some miracle performed or healing take place; yet most would not recognize who was in front of them. He felt so much rejection; perhaps none more severe than that of his own earthly family (Mark 3:21; John 7:5).

So, after one particularly tough day, Jesus gets in a boat and heads to the other side of the lake—towards the Gentiles, a region where He was not known (Mark 4:35-36). This is a significant departure because Gentiles were not the priority of His ministry (see Matthew 10:5-6).

Jesus’ ministry was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and as the Good Shepherd He would bring Israel to a place where they could emanate the healing grace of God towards the rest of the world. Jesus ministered to the Jews for the Gentiles. Therefore, we should say the mission of Jesus is first to Israel (through his own ministry) and then to the Gentiles (through the actions of his apostles). This was noted in Luke 2:32, as prophesied in Isaiah 49:6.

Mark 5:1-2 records that as they immediately departed the boat, they were met with a man in the tombs with an unclean spirit.​ For Israel, a state of uncleanness was an affront to the sacrifices surrounding their religious practices. Ritual purity was tied directly to physical and moral purity and violations of such were met with harsh and swift judgment. In this context, imagine what the disciples were thinking as Jesus walked towards the man.

​As the story goes, Jesus rebuked the demons and they asked to be sent to the herd of swine, which Jesus consented. Notice that the demons had to ask and get permission. As the herd of pigs ran over the cliff and drowned into the water, the townspeople became very afraid. Have you ever considered why they were afraid? Was it for the financial loss of the pigs or for the miracle they just witnessed. Notice that there was no mention of anyone coming to check on the welfare of the man.

In Mark 5:18-20, the man, now in his right mind, asks to go with Jesus, but the Lord denied his request. In this instance, he told the man to go to his hometown and tell others what the Lord had done for him. This is in stark contrast to when Jesus would heal those within Israel and instruct them to tell no one (Matthew 9:27-31; Mark 1:43-45). Our Lord knew His destiny was the cross, and He did not want any uprising preventing this from happening.

But Jesus had a mission for this man right in his home town; his Jerusalem. And that’s the message for us.

This man knew nothing about Scripture or Jesus other than what had taken place. All he could do was tell his story of what Christ had done for him. And that is all He is asking us to do.

Do you have a testimony? An elevator speech? 100 words or less of what your life was like before Christ got ahold of you, and what your life is like now? We should all be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15).

We should pray every day when we wake up for God to put in our path someone who needs to hear the Good News. It’s what we’re commanded to do. Look at the following verses:

Matthew 28:18–19 (ESV) — 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Isaiah 12:4–5 (ESV) — 4 And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. 5 “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.

Matthew 24:14 (ESV) — 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Acts 1:8 (ESV) — 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 9:15–16 (ESV) — 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

Matthew 10:32–33 (ESV) — 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

2 Corinthians 4:13 (ESV) — 13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak,

1 John 2:23 (ESV) — 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

1 John 4:15 (ESV) — 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

Psalm 66:16 (ESV) — 16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.

Jeremiah 51:10 (ESV) — 10 The Lord has brought about our vindication; come, let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God.

Daniel 4:2 (ESV) — 2 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.