In Mark 1:37, the disciples come to Jesus and say ‘Everyone is looking for you.’
This is after Jesus spent an entire day healing people, casting out demons, and performing other signs and wonders. No wonder people are looking for Jesus!
But in verse 38, Jesus says ‘Let us go on to the next town.’
What is Jesus doing here? People want Him here, in this town; why leave?
Jesus leaves because He is not a traveling sideshow that sets up shop and entertains people and solves all their problems. Jesus has come to preach the Good News; Jesus has come so that He might go to the cross and suffer and die for the sins of the world.
And that is not always something people want.
People love it when Jesus gives stuff away. People love it when Jesus solves their problems. That is after all why the people in the text are looking for Jesus; overnight, more people came to town needing healing; more demons needed to be cast out; more problems needed to be solved. That is after all, why many seek Jesus today: Jesus is the gift giver or the problem solver or the answer provider.
And when Jesus does not do as you wish; when you do not get what you want; or even when Jesus has done all that you desire; you leave. After all, what good is Jesus if you do not need Him anymore?
And so this time Jesus leaves. He goes to the next town. He goes to preach the Gospel elsewhere.
What about you? Do you seek Jesus for the tricks He can do, or do you seek Jesus for the message that He brings?
That is the thing about Jesus; He never truly leaves. Jesus is always present in His Word and in the sacraments. Jesus is always here to offer comfort and the forgiveness of sins. Jesus is always present in His church offering the words of eternal life.
For in the midst of healing diseases and casting out demons, Jesus also preached the Good News of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Jesus shined light in the darkness of the lives of the people in that town, and in every town He visited.
If the people were listening; if you are listening; then you will know that Jesus never leaves, in fact He is always present.