On the road to Emmaus there were two disciples walking and talking with Jesus. Scripture tells us in Luke 24 that “they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us…
They constrained Him. They didn’t just ask. They urged and insisted and compelled Him. There is an element of force implied in the word. Jesus planned on going further, but I get the impression that they weren’t going to take no for an answer. And as he came in to share a meal with them, it says “their eyes were opened and they knew Him”
When Jesus came to the disciples walking on water (Mark 6) it says He would have passed them by. But they cried out and immediately He talked with them and said to them “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid”. Jesus got into the boat and the storm was calmed. Their desperation stopped Him and brought His peace into their situation.
The blind man at Jericho (Luke 18) heard that Jesus was passing by and he cried out. The word there indiciates that he was shouting in a tumultuous way. Probably embarrassing the people that were standing near, so they told him to be quiet. Yet he cried out all the more. Jesus called for him and restored his sight. Had he been afraid of what everyone else might think about him, he may have held his peace and died a blind man.
In all three of these accounts Jesus is right there, but about to pass by. Yet when someone cried out and insisted on His presence, He stopped. Why did He stop? Because there was a longing, a desperation for His Presence. How many times have we felt that same thing rising up within us, yet because such a crying out isn’t “proper” or “acceptable”, we suppress the longing and ignore the desperation as Jesus passes by.
I want to constrain Him. I want to stir myself up to take hold of Him. I want to know Him; to experience His miraculous peace in every storm; to have my vision restored. I am not content that He should ever pass by.
And the wonder of it all is that He isn’t either.