Summary: It can be hard to tell people "no", and sometimes we say "yes" when we don't actually mean it. But Jesus shows us how important "no" can be. From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEWRnuMvKY4
I think a lot of us can have a hard time saying "no" to people.
We can be afraid that other people will be disappointed, or let down, or maybe not even like us as much anymore. Or we might feel guilty, guilty that someone else might have to help them instead of us, or that nobody will help them. And some things just sound fun, and we don't want to say "no" because we don't want to miss out on something fun!
So we say "yes" to the fun, and "yes" out of guilt, and "yes" out of fear, yes, yes, yes, and pretty soon if we're not careful, we can suddenly find that our whole week is filled up, and we don't know how we're going to get everything done, and we're staying up late or getting up early trying to finish everything, or falling behind and disappointing people when we don't come through.
In Luke 4, Jesus has spent a few weeks in the small fishing and trading village of Capernaum. And Jesus has just started out on the scene; he doesn't have any disciples or followers yet, and Capernaum is really the first place he's stayed and taught.
And Jesus is teaching there every Sabbath, and he's healed the sick and cast demons out of tormented people and brought people back from near-death, and the people of Capernaum seem to really love him. But then one day they wake up and he's gone.
And they send out search parties into the surrounding countryside looking for him. One of these search parties finds him, and I guess it becomes obvious that Jesus wasn't really planning on coming back...because they start to beg him not to leave, begging him to come back to Capernaum
And Jesus looks at these people who he's spent the last few weeks with, people he's probably gotten to know, whose loved ones he's healed, and he says "no".
He says "I've got to go share the good news of the Kingdom of God with other places too, that's why I was sent."
And he leaves.
Now think about how it would have felt to have been one of these people from Capernaum. You're begging Jesus not to leave you, and he leaves anyway. Would you have felt maybe a little disappointed? Or upset? Maybe even angry, or abandoned?
And think about being in Jesus' shoes. You've really gotten to know these people over the last few weeks, you maybe stayed in their homes, shared meals with some of them, talked to them in the synagogue. And they're begging you not to go...what would you tell them? Would you be able to say "no"? I'm not totally sure I would be able to.
But...Jesus does say "no". Jesus says "no", and it's okay.
It's okay to say "no".
Jesus actually says "no" to people in the New Testament quite a bit:
- To someone asking for healing (Matthew 15:21-25)
- To people trying to protect him (John 18:10-11)
- To people trying to defend his honor (Luke 9:54-55)
- To his own mom, when she asks him to stop teaching for a little bit and come talk to her (Matthew 12:46-48)
And yes, some of these requests were manipulative, and it was important that Jesus—like you—say no to people who are being manipulative. But a lot of these things are more or less *good*...they are people trying to help Jesus or people asking Jesus for help with good things.
If we focus back in on the Capernaum story specifically, they're saying come back to Capernaum, but what was he doing there? Teaching people about the Kingdom of God and healing the sick. There's nothing wrong with that, there's nothing sinful about wanting teaching and healing!
And if Jesus had decided to stay in Capernaum, he probably could have done a lot of good! The people there would have been happy, he would have healed more sick people, cast out more demons, and taught them deeply about the good news of the Kingdom of God. It could have been great!
But Jesus felt called to share the good news of God's Kingdom with as many places as he could. And he couldn't possibly do both that and say "yes" to Capernaum. He had to choose...choose which he would say "yes" to, and which he would say "no" to.
And had Jesus made the choice to say "yes" to Capernaum, he would have been saying no to basically the entire rest of the New Testament. All of the people who he met and the towns that he taught in and the lives that he changed and the individuals he discipled (he wouldn't even have met most of his disciples). And he wouldn't have met the lepers, and paralyzed people, and blind people and sick people, he wouldn't have met the woman at the well and the Roman Centurion and the 5,000 people who he fed! None of that would have happened!