When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them. But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. (Luke 4:42-44 NASB)
Can we ever have so much of Jesus that we need to ‘let Him go’? Is there any point in our lives where we are supposed to let Him move on to someone else? I believe the answers are yes, and no.
In this passage, the immediately previous context is Jesus performing healing and exorcisms all night. The people came from Capernaum, and there are so many that Jesus didn’t heal them all even working through the night. The demons would scream out who He was, and He’d silence them as He cast them out. It was a crazy night, and Jesus had to be exhausted. That brings us to this passage.
YES, LET JESUS’ PURPOSE PREVAIL
Jesus has a purpose that requires Him not to remain local. So He refuses their request to remain there and travels on. For us, in this church-age, Jesus isn’t located in the same way. So the application for us isn’t in letting Him leave the region, it’s found in Jesus’ statement about His purpose. He didn’t do the good thing the people wanted, He did the better thing in following His purpose.
In other words, when I have a great thing that I believe my Master should do, be a part of, basically ‘my plan’, my submission and obedience to His authority means leaving the ‘nets’ of my great idea behind and pursuing His greater plan and purpose. This is part of dying to myself. It includes dying to my plans, great though they may be. It means exchanging my plans for His, my ideas for His, my thoughts for His. It sounds nuts, and feels nuts to actually do it.
NO, NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF HIM
For this passage, that is the ‘yes’ part of the application. But I said that I believe there is also a ‘no’ point of application. And that has to do with letting Him depart from my life. I believe there may be times when I’m tempted to believe I’m facing something I’m supposed to face on my own, you know, to build character or some such nonsense. That is not what I read in Scripture. Jesus says that He will not leave nor forsake us, quoting a passage from the Hebrew Scriptures where God told Israel the same thing. He’s never been one to leave us to figure something out.
I believe my own self-centered focus desires an opportunity to ‘prove myself’. Such attempts prove that I’m not God, therefore not capable of facing this world. This world is ruled by my enemy, and this enemy is not one I can face myself. I’m terrible at it. So why would I want to ‘prove myself’ against such a foe? All I’m capable of doing is standing in borrowed armor proclaiming, “my Master kicks your butt!” But for reasons that run very deep in me and my culture, I want to have some power too.
I keep wanting God to choose me, and He is patiently waiting for me to choose Him. He’s already chosen me, but along with lots of people He wants to use to demonstrate His power. As long as I keep running around trying to get His attention so He’ll do what I can imagine, I miss out on what He has going on. He’s chosen me, but I’m not cooperating. My Master has a place for me to function, but I’m too focused on my own stuff to even consider His.
So in a sense, I need to never let Him leave me. I need to never lose sight of Him, His glory, His direction, His work, and His perspective. In another sense I need to let His purpose rule over my own even when mine seems so good. I need to submit my good designs to His perfect ones, and let Him ‘leave’ my stuff behind. So, no and yes, both at the same time.
That’s one view through the knothole, what’s yours?