“Jesus and his disciples went away to Lake Galilee, and a large crowd followed him.
They had come from Galilee, from Judea, from Jerusalem, from the territory of Idumea,
from the territory on the east side of Jordan,
and from the region around the cities of Tyre and Sidon” (Mark 3:7-8, GNB).
Since the last two chapters, we read that Jesus was mainly rejected and questioned by religious leaders. But here He is welcomed by many, many people. “A large crowd followed him.” What a contrast! If you have a map in your Bible (Yes, there is!), you’ll find that people all around Israel and outside came to see Him. People would have travelled on foot for many miles or perhaps days. Why? The next passage tells us why: “All these people came to Jesus because they had heard of the things he was doing” (Mark 3:8).
Jesus was popular. Jesus was the latest celebrity in Israel. Jesus was liked by many people. Just as most of nominal Christians in Malaysia today – even majority of our liberal Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and atheist friends – somewhat respect and to some extent, adore him. They also “heard of the things Jesus was doing.” They know some facts and tit-bits about Him but never had a personal encounter with Jesus of the Bible themselves. Movies, magazines, newspapers, books, songs, Facebook & Twitter posts, T-shirts, car stickers – ALL! – except from Christians witness and His written Word, the Bible. I think it is due to their ignorance but for the most part it is due to our own fault. We, who call ourselves Christ’s disciples are so busy with our own personal developments, worship concerts, etc. that we neglect Christ’s great commission to the world (Matthew 28:18-19).
People in Jesus’ time were amazed and fascinated by His miracles. People today are amaze and fascinate by His teachings. People in Jesus’ time came for healing. People today come for prosperity blessing. People in Jesus’ time seeing Him as only a miracle-worker. People of today see Him merely as one of the greatest men in history (and nothing more). Both people of yesterday and today did not really grasp who Jesus is – “the Son of God’ (Mark 1:1). I wonder, Do we (individually and the church) really know who Jesus of the Bible is? Are we attracting people because of the promises of health, wealth and prosperity or because of who Jesus is and what He has done on the cross for us? We must ask these questions or else we might also follow Him because of “the things he was doing” rather than Who He is.
Nevertheless Jesus was so merciful and graceful that He “healed many people” (Mark 3:10) that came to Him that day. Just like those who come to Jesus today, no doubt He sometime blesses and heals them. That is not an assurance of eternal blessing that is what we call common grace. After all, they come from far away.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.