Reading Mark chapter 5 recently, I was deeply struck by three words that stood out in verse 19. A demon-possessed man had just been healed by Jesus (and his many demons had been allowed to enter a herd of pigs, which had then spectacularly thrown themselves off a cliff into the sea).
Understandably, the man who had been healed wanted to follow Jesus as he departed for his next destination. That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? You or I would want to do exactly that! But then we read Jesus’ response, and it sounds like a complete rejection: – ‘But Jesus refused…’
So, why would Jesus refuse the man’s request to go with him? Reading on, we’re told that he then said ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you…’ and that the man did just that, to the amazement of everyone who heard his testimony. In doing so, he discovered Jesus’ call and purpose for his life.
Because he knows what’s best far better than we do, God does not always live up to our expectations. Instead, he exceeds them. Isaiah 55:8-9 puts it like this: –
‘…my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.’
So, next time we find ourselves disappointed by Jesus’ apparent refusal for us to do what we think is good, it’s worth listening to what he says next. His rejection of our apparently perfectly reasonable request might actually turn out to be his call to our most significant ministry in life.
With my love and prayers