As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him. But he would not permit him but told him instead, “Go home* to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed. Mark 5, verses 18-20.
This confession may be shocking: I’d really like nothing better than to live the esoteric life of contemplating my faith in Jesus. I’d like to talk through deeper matters of faith with people who are more learned than myself in Jesus, the faith, and how to grow its fruits; scholars, professors and such. For me, it would be heaven to talk and debate these deep matters of the heart, then sleep, wake, and arise to do it all again. That’s not the kind of man I usually am in public but, in reality, that kind of faith-based academic life is one I would love to live.
But to paraphrase Alan Jackson, “I’m here in the real world.” That just isn’t me. I wish it could be, and maybe part of my one-day life in heaven will include that. Here on the Third Rock, however, that just isn’t what I was put here to do. Every time I think I might someday end up in the group of ecclesiastical navel gazers, reality comes crashing in. The longer I live, the more I equate “reality” with “Jesus Christ.”
So it is that I find myself identifying with the man from the tombs. Jesus had healed him. Not only healed, but completely restored. The demons had once destroyed everything about him, and then this Jesus came along and set his ship right. The man’s reaction? “Lord, let me follow you.”
Jesus’ reaction? “Thanks but I have a better idea.” Leave here and go talk about what was done for you. In so many other places, Jesus told those (whom He healed) to comply with Jewish law and keep quiet. Here, however, He told the man to go talk about it. Specifically, He told the man to go home and talk about God, about how God personally intervened in his life and made everything new.
The man had wanted nothing more than to bask in Jesus’ glory, to contemplate His glory and His mercy for all the rest of his days. Jesus had something else in mind. He sent the man out to preach God Immanuel to hundreds, maybe thousands, of his countrymen who had always and only known the man to be insane. As we talked about the other day, it’s not inconceivable that a substantial body of believers in the land of the Gerasenes became believers in Jesus thanks to the personal testimony this man from the tombs shared.
I would rather stay and sit, but Jesus says ‘go and do’ for Him. These days, I find that comforting, especially in a scary time when my world is changing and I don’t fully understand where God is sending me. The only thing I know for certain is that He always provides and will put the words in my mouth when He wants me to share something. I’d rather sit and bask in His glory but He has better plans in mind, no matter what they may turn out to be. So it is for me. So it is, my friend, for you as well.
Lord, lead me. I will follow You.
Read Mark 5, verses 1-20.