By Daniel Foster / @DanielFoster07
In Mark 5, we learn about a demon-possessed man called by the name “Legion,” who has been cast out of the city by the locals. Jesus goes up to Legion, and casts all of the demons out of him and into two thousand pigs which all went crazy and jumped off a cliff (insert all your bacon jokes here).
The town did not like this at all, and begged Jesus to leave, and that’s where I want to pick the story up. “As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with Him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much The Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.’ So the man went away and began to tell all in Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.” (Mark 5:18-20).
If you know me very well, you know I don’t enjoy receiving "no” for an answer. I don’t like being denied the opportunity to do things that I want to do. I don’t think many of us enjoy being denied that opportunity. However, today I want to look at the beauty of receiving “no” as an answer.
So this man has just been healed by Jesus. If he has never been more on fire for Christ, it is at this moment. He asks Jesus if he can go with Him, to accompany Him on his journey (to be the sidekick missionary, I suppose). Instead of getting the answer he expected, Jesus told him “no”.
Can you imagine the confusion? The hurt? The disappointment? Perhaps you know those feelings too well. You’ve asked God for something and His plan and your plan didn’t seem to match up. But notice Jesus had a bigger and better plan for this man. He told him to go back home and tell the people about the great things The Lord has done. Go back to the same people who once despised, and rejected him, could you imagine?
But when you read in Mark chapter 7 (verse 31-35), Jesus comes back to Decapolis, the same town who begged Him to leave. This time, notice there was a multitude waiting to greet Him. A multitude! Jesus had a far greater plan for this once demon-possessed man. This far greater plan came as a “no”. The man went back home and was a missionary to multitudes. Think about all of those people who heard the gospel as a result of that “no”.
Next time you feel like God is telling you “no”, don’t be upset, instead be encouraged. Be encouraged, knowing God has a far greater plan for your life.
Daniel Foster comes from the outskirts of Atlanta. He serves on staff at DeVotie Baptist Church where he is the student pastor. Daniel is a fan of the Georgia Bulldogs and the Atlanta Braves. You can find him on Twitter at @danielfoster07.