On the day when we celebrate our country’s birth, we are proud of our forefathers’ decision to break away, to go their own direction in governing their people. This post will not extol or expound on those brave men or even the government they created. Instead, let’s think about the one time when we need to totally submit to a higher authority, when that authority is God.
In the 8th. Chapter of Luke, Jesus asserts Himself as not only a very wise and good man, a teacher and preacher, but as the actual Son of God. In Luke 22-25, His disciples are amazed when instead of praying for God to save them from a storm, He rebukes the wind and the waves directly, and the violent weather becomes instantly still. The end of verse 25 quotes them “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”
In the very next story, when the boat lands onshore, a man who is naked, homeless, and seemingly totally mad meets them. This is a person that the whole community had given up on. They had tried everything to help, even shackling him to keep him and the rest of the neighbors safe from his rage. But, this man had escaped, and now lived among the tombs, out of his mind.
Jesus recognized immediately that Satan and his demons were controlling this man. The demons also recognized Jesus, and knew his power. When Jesus drove them out of the man, they requested that they be allowed to enter a herd of pigs, which they promptly drove over a cliff, satisfying their need for destruction.
The man who was now free of the demons was, of course, very grateful, and content to sit at the feet of the Savior. The community marveled at this miracle, but it frightened them. They were beginning to recognize the power of Jesus, and didn’t know what would happen next. They asked Jesus and His disciples to leave.
Now here comes the independence part: The man who had been healed from the presence of demons wanted to go with Jesus. He could have been an example to all those Jesus met, a testimony to His power. But, instead, Jesus had a better plan.
Jesus asked the man to stay in his own community, where he was known, where others had witnessed the tremendous change in his life. Here, he could be a better messenger. Verse 39 says Jesus told him “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” and the verse continues by saying “And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.” (NKJV)
In our happiness at the thought of being free from sin, we may think we have the best idea about how to spread the word. Those of us who write have a vision of how we want to spread the word, we have a picture in our head of what a successful writing career looks like.
But God has His own plan. He knows we have a message, but just like Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, God says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” If we want to spread His message, we need to follow His plan.
Notice that Jesus commanded the healed man to tell others what God had done in his life. The man obeyed, and went about his hometown telling others what Jesus had done. He knew they were one and the same, and that was the message he was bringing to his neighbors. This man was not just a great man, a good teacher, He was God, in the flesh. Exactly the message they needed to hear.
In our search for independence, may we follow His plan, and tell others our story of what He has done in our lives. Exactly the way God wants it told, and exactly what they need to hear.