Benjamin Franklin reportedly said, “Fish and house guests both begin to stink after three days.” If you’re getting a lot of company this summer, you might already be saying AMEN! The key is to not overstay your welcome.
Jesus knew this. He didn’t push himself on people and He taught His disciples to follow His lead. This has spoken so clear in the book of Luke.
When Jesus went to the Garesenes, a demon possessed man greeted Him as He got out of the boat. The man said his name was Legion, because so many demons had entered him. A Legion in Roman times was a troop of 3,000-6,000 men. It’s a biblical way to say a lot. No one had been able to chain this crazy, naked man. The demons drove him into isolation and he’d been living in the cemetery. This man—who threw himself at Jesus’ feet screaming in fear—was the welcoming committee.
Somehow he realized his desperate need to get rid of his tormentors and ran to meet Jesus. Jesus ordered the demons out of him and into a herd of nearby pigs. Word spread and townspeople ran to see what was going on. “Legion” was sitting quietly, clothed, and soaking up Jesus’ life-giving words. You’d think the people would be thrilled and full of questions. Instead they were mad they lost their pigs. They begged “Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left” (Luke 8:37).
Jesus didn’t try to change their minds or leave in a huff. He just left. But not before instructing the healed man to go home and tell everybody what God had done for him.
When Jesus went back across the Lake of Galilee, however, the people were eager to welcome Him (Luke 8:40). They were waiting for His return and ready to listen. They were so excited to be near Him they practically crushed Jesus as He went to heal a man’s a sick daughter.
On the way—a woman reached out to touch His robe and her twelve years of bleeding instantly stopped. When Jesus got to His destination He raised the twelve year old girl, who had died, back to life. All in all a pretty good day.
Jesus’ desire to bless and heal were the same for all, but some people welcomed Him and others didn’t.
Jesus sent out His twelve disciples with power and authority—to heal, cast out demons, and tell people the Good News from God. He said, “Wherever you are welcome, stay…wherever people don’t welcome you, leave” (Luke 9:4-5, TEV). He reiterated this when sending out seventy-two disciples in chapter ten. The message and the messenger have value. Jesus reminded them their confidence must be in the truth rather than whether people accepted them or not (Luke 10:1-12).
If you’re NOT a believer in Jesus Christ this is good news. Jesus will not force himself on you, but neither will He give up on you. He will come as close as you let Him. He has a message of love, freedom, hope, and forgiveness for you. He has the power and authority to heal and give you new life. If you’re not ready and tell Him to go away, He will. But He won’t go far, and He will continue to send others to remind you of His love and commitment to you. And He’ll show you in a myriad of ways.
If you ARE a believer in Jesus Christ this is good news. You don’t have to cower or be embarrassed about what you believe—even when others don’t respond well and reject or mistreat you. If you’re a disciple of Christ, He has filled you with His Spirit and empowered you to minister healing and truth. If people accept your message and want to hear more, stay. If they reject Christ in you, pull back. That doesn’t mean you stop loving, praying, and looking for opportunities to share Jesus. It means respecting others wishes and honoring their boundaries.
This is such encouraging news. It takes all the pressure off. It’s all about Jesus—freely offering what He so lavishly gave. What I have to share is worth getting excited about, even when it's not popular.
#fishandhouseguests #withgentlenessandrespect #sharingthegospel #boundaries