In the Gospels, Jesus heals a lot of men and women. And just about any time that He does, the healed individual begs to be able to go with Him. More often than not, He tells them to go home instead.
We think there must be some reason why Jesus sends them home. To our modern sensibilities, where we are all apostles and disciples of Christ, this reason must be that Jesus intends to use them to spread His Good News to the towns from which they came. You know, the way the woman at the well told all of her town and then, they came out to hear Jesus for themselves.
But this requires a certain assumption on our part about the nature of the men and women that Jesus healed. Are we to assume they were all fervent men and women? Are we to assume they were all eager and gung-ho about the mission of Jesus after being healed by Him? Are we to assume they were all thinking more about Him than they were about themselves?
Knowing what we know of human nature, it's just not likely. What's more likely is that some of these men and women that Jesus healed wanted to follow Him not because He was great, but because their demons were powerful.
Following Jesus was their lock-safe that whatever had afflicted them for so long would not come back. And if it did, gosh, then Jesus was right there to heal them again!
Think about it. You're a blind man, born blind, been blind your entire life. All of a sudden, you can see again. How long does it take you to trust your eyes? Does there ever come a time when you stop thinking that right around the corner, blindness lurks? Maybe you want to follow Jesus because He's the one who knows how to open your eyes if they go dark.
You're a paraplegic. It's been years since you've been able to stand on your own two feet. Jesus tells you to pick up you mat and go home, so you pick up your mat and start to walk away. But how long until your legs give out on you? Jesus makes you stronger; of course you want to be with Him. That way, if your legs start to shake, He can lift you back up.
You're on a first-name basis with the demon that's been inhabiting your body for twenty years. All of a sudden, you find out that your demon knows the name of Jesus. Don't you want to hang around Him for awhile just in case that demon comes back?
I'm not saying that everyone that Jesus heals in the Gospels is self-centered and only thinking about themselves. I'm not saying they had a weak faith or a selfish faith or anything like that.
What I am saying is that it's human nature to want a back-up plan, but Jesus isn't much into being your back-up plan. Jesus wants to be your one and only.
And that means that sometimes, the best place for you to go is not to the shores of Galilee or to the streets of Jerusalem. No. Sometimes, the best place for you to go...is home.