"Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. The crowds searched everywhere for him, and when they finally found him, they begged him not to leave them."
He had just healed many and cast out demons the day before. This response is a nice change from the reception Jesus got in Nazareth, but still Jesus refused.
Jesus was in isolation, praying from the night before. I can imagine that refusing to stay with people would have been difficult.
What strikes me on this story is the people begging him to stay. That's not just a courteous invite for more lunch. I understand they were receiving something from Jesus and possibly they wanted more, but still.
That response is in sharp contrast to the way many of us deal with Jesus. When is the last time you begged to be with Jesus? Seriously think back and consider when you couldn't wait to go to church. Can you name a time you woke up early, unable to go back to sleep because you were so excited to spend some time in prayer?
When is the last time you heard a child or teen begging to go to church? Or fighting you when it was over? Do you have a notebook full of stories of people wanting more church activities every night of the week?
We treat Jesus like we're doing Him a favor by giving Him some of our leftovers of time and energy. To see our culture, one might expect Jesus is begging for us to hang around in a similar way many churches cry out for somebody...anybody....to come and attend a worship service.
But that's not how it works, is it?
When we stop and consider the truth about how this universe works... You know, petty little details like who made it, how it was made, who messed it up, who is fixing it. Small details like sin and salvation, Heaven and Hell, mercy and grace, etc. When we actually stop and consider the truth, it should change how we live it out.
I think we need to come to a point of understanding where we realize we should always be begging Jesus to stay. I know He has promised us much and I don't doubt those promises. Neither should you. But when it comes to what you want out of this life, you should be willing to beg for more of Jesus.