Yesterday, we looked at why Jesus may have sent some of the men and women that He healed home, rather than letting them travel with Him, as they often requested. And essentially, one of the reasons He may have done this is because Jesus has no intention of being our back-up plan.
Following Jesus is never something we should do "just in case."
But it's very tempting. There's something about our faith that wants to be lived forward, always taking one more step toward something - toward Jesus, toward the Cross, toward Heaven. It's a faith that is always looking for the next thing to happen, always wanting to be made new. For some reason, it's far easier for us to trust Jesus for tomorrow than it is to trust Him for today. It's easier to build our faith on what is yet to come, rather than building our faith on what has already been done.
That's why, when you talk to most Christians, you hear them talk about what Jesus is going to do when He comes back. It's why you hear them talking about what happens next. It's why you don't hear them talking very much about what's already happened. We talk far more about Heaven than we do about the Cross, even though it is the Cross that makes Heaven possible.
So Jesus sends men home. He sends them to a place where all they've got is what He's done for them. They don't have another chance to see another miracle. They don't have an opportunity to keep Him around, waiting for the next thing. They don't have some kind of wandering journey to get lost in. All they've got is life as they've always known it...and one powerful moment with a God who has made Himself known.
It doesn't mean that once he goes home, the blind man goes blind again. It doesn't mean the paraplegic takes his mat and lays back down on it. It doesn't mean that the woman sweeps her house to make room for the demon and his seven friends to return.
What it means is that the healed are faced with the decision to continue believing in Jesus, to make Him part of their everyday existence, to trust in His healing work, and to grow their faith...or not. They either live in the knowledge of what He's done and the wholeness of His healing...or not. They either live as men and women forever affected by Jesus...or not.
It's the same decision the rest of us are facing every day as Christ-followers, as Christ-lovers, as Christians.
Let me ask you something: what kind of Christian would you be, what kind of faith would you have, what kind of story would you tell if the only story you could tell about Jesus was the story of what He's already done for you? What would your life of faith look like if you weren't always waiting on the next thing, but you were always thankful for the last thing? How would it change your walk if you looked at the Cross rather than the clouds?
Because here's the truth: we are the healed men and women in the Gospels. We are them. We are persons who have had a powerful encounter with Christ through the Cross, and He has sent us home to trust in Him. He's sent us to live life as we know it...in light of the God who has made Himself known.