18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith 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. 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
Decapolis, from the Greek words, Deka, for ten, and polis, for city, the ten cities, was a region on the eastern side of what is now Israel. Some of the cities would be in Jordan now, and the furthest north, Damascus, is in Syria. Most of them, except for Damascus, were founded between the death of Alexander the Great and the conquest of Palestine by the Romans. In their beginning, those cities founded by Greek conquerors had a Greek culture in sharp contrast to the surrounding Semitic people. The existence of a herd of pigs, forbidden to eat under the Law given to Moses, shows how much this was a Gentile dominated region. Until the emperor, Trajan, added Arabia to the official roster of Roman claimed territories, Decapolis would have been the frontier area for the empire in that particular part of the world.
Psalm 26:7 That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.
This man who had been delivered of so much pain and anguish wanted desperately to go with Jesus but Jesus ordered him to publish, to let everyone know, what had been done for him in his home cities. There are many great preaching illustrations from these verses but one might be how as much as we might think it would wonderful to go home to be with the Lord as soon as we are saved we are told to stay here and publish what a marvelous thing Christ has done for us in our home city. Of course, there are Christians who are mighty witnesses for God down the road but who don’t even know their own neighbors much less publish what God has done for them to those folks.
How many of your neighbors have you visited? Handed a gospel tract to or helped in some way to show your love for them and Christ’s love for them? Does your family know your testimony? Do you have a sound witness to them and those who live around you? If the people closest to you in your family or neighborhood aren’t drawn by you having the fruit of the Spirit of God flowing from your life what makes you think God is going to give you the blessing of seeing people saved twenty miles away? It’s possible the only way that your neighbors and family know you’re a Christian is by your conspicuous absence on Sunday morning or Wednesday night.
In your day to day activities around the people you spend the most time with, at work, at home, in your neighborhood, at the local market, what is your testimony? Is it that of a person of character who is grateful to Christ for His mercy and loves other people or are you known as a pain in the neck who just likes to point attention to how different or weird they are? Maybe no one who lives around you even knows what you are?
Publish in (fill the town in which you live in the blank) how great things Christ has done for you.