I was reading this morning in Mark 5 verses 1-20 about Jesus freeing the man from the demon called Legion.
Verses 1-6 describe the state of the man before he met Jesus.
“They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him.”
It is not the man who speaks to Jesus, but the demon who recognizes Jesus, calls Him Son of the Most High God, and begs Him not to torment him. He then begs him not to send him out of the country but to send him into a herd of 2 thousand pigs. The demon was one demon but many and Jesus gave him permission to enter the pigs, which went over a cliff and drowned in the sea below. Verses 14-17 tell us what happened next.
“The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.”
The change in the man was so big that the people were afraid. Jesus power and authority was obvious. These were not Jewish people. They may have heard of Jesus and they may not have, but they didn’t know God or anything much about Him. Perhaps the fact that a herd of two thousand pigs had just run over a cliff and died carrying with them a huge amount of money scared them about losing any more money to this Jesus. But whatever the case, they wanted to stay in their sin and begged Jesus to leave.
There was a lot of begging, first the demon, then the people of Gerasenes. And Jesus gave them what they begged for. Verses 18-20 continue the narrative.
“As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.”
I’ve been a Christian since 1977. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve read this. But this morning The Lord revealed something to me I had never caught before.
After the man has been healed, he begged Jesus to allow him to go with Him. This seems like something that would be God's will. Let me follow you, learn from you tell people everywhere that you are Messiah! Yet, Jesus told the man no. He said, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
I can try to imagine, that I would be really disappointed, and knowing me I would wonder why I wasn't good enough to be one of his close followers. But this guy went home and he did what Jesus told him to do. He proclaimed what Jesus had done in the Decapolis, which was ten Greco-Roman cities located in Eastern Palestine.
That was God's will and I would venture to say that He brought many people to the knowledge that Jesus is the son of God. He followed God's will over his own will and God used him. The people in that area knew him as the demon possessed man that couldn't even be restrained with chains, who lived in the tombs and was crazy. They could see the change in Him after his encounter with Christ. His proclamations of God's mercy to him probably changed the lives of many people. If God had given the man what he begged for, I believe the only life changed may have been his. He would certainly not have had the huge impact on his home region.
Making Jesus our Lord means giving up our will for His, giving Him the right to be the Master of our lives. In Luke 9:23-25 Jesus says,
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”
What is it, you have begged for and The Lord has said no to? Have you considered that God has something better for you? Have you considered He has great plans for you? Isaiah 55:8-11 reads,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
We can be so disappointed sometimes when we do not get what we want, even when that thing seems to be something God would want. But trust Him. He knows what He made you to accomplish. He knows your gifts. He knows how to bring you to a place of strength and power in Him.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 says,
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
Go ahead and ask the Lord for what you want, but don’t give in to despair if He says no. His no is only a yes to something better and greater.