Other Towns.

The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. They said, “Everyone is asking for you.” But he replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too, because that is why I came.” — Mark 1:35 – 38

It grew quiet outside Peter’s house as the crowds died away. Then the city slept. .

Soon they came again, asking for the Healer. To Peter’s surprise Jesus wasn’t there. A head count and still no Jesus. Where would he have gone? Wouldn’t he have been exhausted by what transpired just hours before? Did anyone see him leave?

Meanwhile the people of the city were still asking for him. We want to see Jesus. I know he can heal me. You must let me see him.

There was nothing Peter could do for them. He couldn’t even keep a tab on Jesus, much less comfort those who had come. Like a new employee under training, he tried his best. When this failed, he went looking for the person in charge.

If he could only find him. God, help me find him. 

Who knows where Jesus was — Scripture says he was somewhere in the wilderness. That could be anywhere. Probably outside town. And there were alot of rocks turned on the way. Maybe he even called out to him in the streets. The seekers trailing him, Peter must have been wondering, “How did I get myself into this sort of responsibility?” Before, his life was more simple. Now, he was leading a party of ailing seekers for The Son of God. 

When they found him, Peter was incredulous. He said, “Everyone is asking for you”. Meaning, “These people standing here with me have been asking for you, and I had to launch a formal search party!”

Jesus, what are you doing here, alone of all things? Your place is back at the house, in the city, helping these people. There are so many who need you here.

Scripture hides Jesus’ emotional response to the invasion of his alone time with the Father, and the interrogation by Peter. I don’t know if he answered sharply or softly. But what he said should open our eyes to how loosely he held on to geography or the acclaim or pursuit of any one group. 

He said loudly enough for the crowd to hear, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too, because that is why I came.”

It would have been nice to grow up in a town where Jesus was your neighbor all your life. As a boy, you heard so much about him — how kind he was and that he taught the ways of God. As you became a man, you would seek to know him more and meet with him to learn more. But no town could claim Jesus. No one could call him neighbor. He wasn’t attached to any one place. 

Jesus went where the Spirit of God lead him. His purpose was to save all cities, all towns, all nations. He couldn’t have done this if he felt at home somewhere.

At times, we find ourselves limited by our stubborn attachment to a place and our perceived responsibilities there. Then, through an event or a felt call we come to understand that there is more to do in other towns. And, we know that what we were doing in our current location was not unimportant, and the people we came to know were not insignificant. Rather, it was one part of God’s larger plan for us. And the dear friends we made were pearls on the necklace God is making for us as we follow His course. They get to keep being our friends now for an eternity.

I can even imagine a few brave souls from the city saying, “Ok, you can go somewhere else, Jesus. But I’m going with you.” That would have been just fine with Jesus. But, to stay there he would have been disobeying God.

Jesus, help me not to feel at home where I am. While I’m here, I want to do great things for you. But, like you, I want to leave myself open to the direction of the Spirit. Take me wherever you will. 

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