When Hanging out with Jesus is the Wrong Answer

November 27, 2013

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Jesus loves to surprise us. Just when we think we have him boiled down to a formula or method, He breaks the mold.

In [Mark 5:1-20](http://www.esvbible.org/Mark+5/”>Mark 5:1-20) we see His interaction with a demon possessed man. He miraculously delivers him and forever changes his life.

The next step seems obvious. Who would this guy want to be around and hang out with?

Jesus.

No brainer, right?

We see this desire expressed by the man himself. “As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.” Mark 5:18

It is Jesus answer that is surprising.

“Go home.”

Well, ok it is a nicer form of that same message.

“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.” Mark 5:19

The normal response for someone who’s life has been changed, is to follow Christ.

But just when you have Jesus figured out, he surprises you.

Instead of joining traditional ministry, Jesus says go be a light in your hometown. No training or education, just take the zeal of your newfound salvation and go.

I’m all for training and Bible schools (I run one). But, I can’t pretend to find a hidden list of requirements in the text.

Imagine the impact this guy could have had going back. These people knew his past. There would be no disputing something was different. He would immediately have an audience with the simple question of “What happened to you? (for good)”

Mark 5:20 shows us, “And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.”

We can be confident that there are normal patterns life follows, but must still leave room for God to be God. He gets to break our rules once in a while.

In Mark 6:53-56 we get another glimpse into this story. When Jesus comes back through this same region, people recognize him immediately and rush to bring their sick and hurting to him.

How did they know?

I’m guessing it was our uneducated, newly delivered, former demon possessed guy who preached his heart out.

Jesus sent him back to his sphere of influence.

Influence he did.

This helps us see that all areas of life and society have value, not merely being an “official” disciple of Jesus. Working within the church or going to Bible school is valuable, but we must allow God to place us into His realm of influence.

We want to require certain theologies or depth of relationship with God. We want a person to have attained a certain level of holiness before we release them on unholy unbelievers.

Deepening our walk with God is so essential and important. But we must still leave room for God to use ordinary people in extra ordinary ways; even if it breaks our rules.

This keeps us both hungry for God and humble in how we view others.

The former demoniac had a chance to hang out with Jesus himself.

Jesus told him he had other plans. When this man followed these plans, the lives of many were changed; not merely his own.

Whenever we are tempted to get a little too set on our requirements and standards, we would do well to remember the story of this man.

Hanging out with Jesus was the wrong answer!

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God