Jesus responded to the request of Simon and his buddies to come back to town. Back to healing the people they knew, back to the needs they thought were most important. Rather than accept their offer or agenda or whatever it was, Jesus clarified his own.
“Let’s go somewhere else so I can preach there also. That’s why I’ve come.”
It’s a statement rich with invitation and clarification.
He includes them in the going to other places. He’s not leaving them, he’s inviting them to go away from home, to go toward his work. But he doesn’t include them in the preaching, not at this point. He’s inviting them to watch him while he does more of the amazing work they’ve seen. And He says it’s his reason. He’s not looking for individuals to heal, he’s proclaiming the arrival of the kingdom.
And they go to the towns around the lake and the hill country.
As I started writing this, I thought about making the point that we should have clarity about our agenda like Jesus had about his. We hear it all the time. “Do the thing you are on earth to do.” “Make the difference you were built to make.”
But what if this story Mark is telling isn’t about how to take the advice of Jesus or how to live like Jesus? What if, foundationally, Mark is telling these stories to show us the way Jesus was so we could know him? It’s one thing to copy someone or be inspired by someone. That happens at a distance.
But to know someone and be with them? That’s different.