The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying,  “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:38–39)
Hearing the story of the man in this passage, it’s almost impossible not to empathize with his pleading to go with Jesus. Yet the fact that his man stayed can serve as a reminder of God’s grace upon us.
We are never told the man’s name, only that he lived in a city on the Sea of Galilee. This man was so afflicted by demons that everyone feared him. This tends to happen when demons cause one to have inhuman power, run around naked and live outdoors among tombs.
Jesus cast the demons from the man, sending the demons into a herd of swine. The swine bolted, ultimately drowning in the Sea of Galilee. As a result, the man was fully, totally healed.
But the local residents were fully, totally freak out. Before we get too critical towards these residents, who would we fear more? The man who was miraculously healed of demons or the One who had authority and power over the demons?
Of course, the man who was healed is caught in the middle. He’s distrusted because of his history and distrusted because of the way Jesus healed him. Meanwhile, the man is deeply appreciative of Jesus for the healing. So, the man asks to come with Jesus. And Jesus answers, “No.”
But look at what happened because the man stayed: “And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.” (v 39).
I can’t help but think that this man’s experience reminds us of our own experiences with God. We have cried out to God to deliver us from physical ailments or painful relationships or bouts of depression. Yet, God chose not to immediately deliver us. In the midst of suffering we learned more about ourselves and more about God. When God did deliver us, we started telling anyone who would listen how God had not only healed us but deepened His relationship with us.
Praise be to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, for his grace and mercy.