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Jesus said, "Don't follow me."

We have many accounts, in the Bible, of Jesus meeting a person and after just a short interaction with them, he invited them to follow him - to accompany him as he walked the dusty roads carrying the message of love and the Father's redemptive plan.

However, there's at least one incident where he did something quite different.

It was the story of the demon possesed man from whom Jesus had cast out many demons. (You can read the story here.)

This is what happened when it was time for Jesus to move on...

"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 in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed." Mark 5:18-20 (NIV)


The New Living Translation puts it like this...
"But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been." Mark 5:19 (NLT)
The man begged to go with Jesus, but Jesus sent him back to his people, back to his family to tell his story.

We all have a sphere of influence - certain people with whom we have built a relationship, people who know us; family, co-workers, people in our church, etc.  These people have seen us through the ups and downs of life, but it's the down times - the trials of life that speak most clearly to them.

Why? Because they all go though rough times themselves.  They want to know that when times are hard, you can count on God. They want to know that He will give you the strength to stand strong and make it out on the other side of the trial victoriously.  So, Jesus sent the man who had been touched by God back to his family, his home town and he instructed the man to share with those who knew him best, what the Lord had done for him.

Let's remember this when God does something wonderful for us. Let's share it (in an attitude of love) with those we know. Those who seem open to it and those who don't, because they, too will soon face a challenge and your words will come back to them.

In doing that, we are actually following Jesus more than we even realize.

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(Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

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